With the spread of the novel coronavirus, a domino effect is taking its toll on businesses and employees. Business owners have been forced to close their doors or cut services, which has threatened their own livelihoods and those of their workers.

To cushion the economic and human impact, many nations passed legislation that required fast implementation to protect the jobs of those citizens most in need.

Companies were under pressure to quickly comply with these new legal obligations and tax regulations. Because many of the tax and legal changes influence how companies compensate their employees, payroll applications and other human experience management (HXM) solutions have been heavily impacted by the legislation.

Businesses worldwide have therefore turned to SAP to help them quickly comply with the changes by updating their software.

80 Fast-Tracked Legal Measures to Help Customers

SAP has a robust localization strategy that is designed for such unexpected emergencies. Whether it is implementing legal compliance related to income security, booking round-trip tickets for stranded expat employees, or tax relief for small and midsize businesses, the Globalization Services team has it covered.

Meeting the challenge meant redistributing teams, mobilizing additional resources, and continuing to engage with internal and external experts.

“We have spared no effort to deliver over 80 fast-tracked legal measures that will help customers navigate the current market challenges,” says Stefan Steinle, head of Globalization Services at SAP. “And on top of all the COVID-19-related legal changes, we also keep delivering regular updates and legal changes.”

Globalization Services has been working closely with customers and partners to provide a solution for every relevant change as quickly and effectively as possible and to make this information publicly available. Nestlé is one global company that relies heavily on the SAP-supported localization wherever its customers operate.

“It is a great idea to have one-stop source for all the legal changes that are COVID-19-related,” says Mukesh Kumar Rai, SAP Total Quality Manager at Nestlé for Asia, Oceania, and sub-Saharan Africa. “This is even more useful for a global customer like Nestlé with multiple country versions.”

SAP maintains this overview of the relevant legal announcements for SAP Payroll Processing and SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central Payroll localizations. Three examples from Spain, Italy, and Austria show the scope of the legal changes SAP has implemented in HXM solutions during the pandemic.

Rallying Around Spain

Spain is among the countries hardest hit by COVID-19. Government authorities there published six legal bulletins containing up to four changes each. These changes affect social security payouts and taxes and require algorithm changes to master data, payroll calculation, and legal reporting.

Because the analysis and implementation of these changes had to be completed quickly, SAP Spain’s product manager Gema Moraleda and development product owner Carlos Moehlecke called user group meetings to share details of SAP solutions and used multiple communication channels to keep customers informed.

SAP’s contribution has been acknowledged by representatives of the user group, customers, and partners. In March, Juan José Díaz Vázquez from Barrahache, an SAP partner, wrote: “Just as there are moments for criticism, we from Barrahache also believe there are moments for gratitude, and in this case we applaud how SAP Spain has stepped up to give answers to the Spanish payroll users in these complicated times we are living.”

Helping Italy Heal

In mid-March, the Italian Government enacted the Cura Italia (“Heal Italy”) law decree, containing measures such as deferral of tax payments, special absence treatment, additional bonuses, and allowances to support families. The biggest challenge was to update the software in line and on time with the dynamic nature of the announcements. SAP used all possible communication channels to help minimize any lack of clarity faced by the customer.

Adapting to Austria’s Short-Time Work Model

Austria adopted a model of short-time work, which draws on federal unemployment-benefits. Although the program required highly complex changes to the software run by companies and institutions, the regional Globalization Services team completed the analysis and implementation of the required changes within in a week. By the second week of April, more than 600,000 citizens had requested compensation under the program, prompting the Austrian government to raise the available funds to support the short-time work program more than ten-fold from €400 million to €5 billion.

Steinle sums up his team’s response to the global crisis: “Our contribution extends beyond solution expertise, agility, and on-the-ball delivery. We have differentiated ourselves not just by responding quickly to the market opportunity, but also by offering real-world solutions that have huge socioeconomic impact on citizens, businesses, and governments.”