What are the possible response measures of employers to the Covid-19 pandemic?
With respect to employees, the employer may:
- require that the annual paid leave is used if work is suspended for more than 5 days (idling);
- assign temporary tasks, other than the usual obligations of the employee (if necessary – not according to the qualification), at the same or at another enterprise in the same location (town/city/locality) – without time limit, but during the state of emergency;
- introduce part-time work for a maximum term of 3 months:
- after prior consultation with the trade union organizations’ and employees’ representatives, if any in the enterprise.
- for at least half of the working hours established so far for a particular employee.
- with the possibility of reducing the remuneration accordingly.
- introduce telework with the consent of the employee by amendment to the labour agreement, if it does not provide for such possibility:
- by means of an annex to an existing labour agreement;
- in accordance with the normally established duration and distribution of the working time;
- the initiation of teleworking can also be proposed by an employee;
- impose disciplinary sanction on an employee who refuses to perform or does not perform his/her work remotely according to the working hours established;
- terminate labour agreements, in cases specified in the Labour Code.terminate labour agreements, in cases specified in the Labour Code.
Employers are not allowed to:
- demand that the employee used his/her unpaid leave for the duration of the state of emergency declared;
- introduce mandatory measures for ascertaining the health status of employees (by temperature measuring, completion of questionnaires, etc.);
- refuse payment of remuneration (including additional remunerations, provided for in a labour agreement), whether or not work is performed;
- avoid the obligation for deduction and payment of social security contributions;
- refuse an employee to work remotely if such possibility is provided for in the labour agreement;
- impose a disciplinary sanction on an employee which refuses to work in the usual workplace if that place constitutes a serious and imminent danger to life or health:
- it is a matter of the employer’s discretion; however, it should be borne in mind that in practice it is yet to be clarified whether and for what jobs the pandemic poses a serious and imminent danger to life or health.
- oppose quarantine leave imposed by the health authorities or a prescription for dismissal issued by the medical authorities – during this period the employee shall receive state social security allowance;
- admits at work an infected/close contact to infected employee which has been relocated by a prescription for change of his/her workplace and/or duties issued by a health authority.
- The employer should, in accordance with the prescription, transfer such employee to perform another suitable work/the same work under more favourable conditions;
- The employer should pay the relocated employee a remuneration according to the work which the employee was transferred to – any difference in the remuneration is compensated by the state social security system.
Regarding the safe and healthy workplace conditions, if there is no possibility for teleworking in the enterprise, the employer should at least:
- provide and carry out at least four times daily cleaning activities, disinfection and ventilation of the work premises;
- conduct staff training on personal hygiene measures;
- refuse admission of employees or third persons with acute contagious illness symptoms at the work premises;
- provide hand disinfectants in prominent places at the workplace;
- provide masks, paper towels, waste bins with covers at disposal for the employees.