Employment relations in the context of #COVID-19

The declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic by the WHO has created new challenges in the field of Labour relations. The solution for managing any crisis begins with proper information.

1. What happens to the Employment Agreement?

Individual employment agreements of employees in quarantine or self-isolation, situations defined by Order No 313/26.02.2020, shall be suspended by law. Throughout the suspension of the Employment Agreement, the dismissal of the employee is prohibited!

2. What happens to salary?

During the suspension of the Individual Employment Agreement, the salary will not be paid. Employee will receive instead a quarantine allowance representing 75% of the average gross monthly income in the last 6 months, up to 12 gross minimum wages per country Monthly. The allowance will be paid by the employer and will be fully reimbursed by the sole national social security fund for health.

3. Work at home without the employer’s consent?

Employees whose Individual Employment Agreement state that work is performed at the employers headquarters they must report to the workplace. Otherwise, the employer has disciplinary prerogative, having the right to apply disciplinary sanctions.

4. If schools are closed, can employees miss work?

The presence of the employee at work is a contractual obligation, but on 17 March 2020 was published in the Official Gazette and entered into force Law No. No 19/2020 on the granting of days off to parents for the supervision of children, in the event of closure of educational establishments.

The provisions apply to parents who cumulatively meet the following conditions:

a) have children up to 12 years of age enrolled in an educational establishment or have children with disabilities up to 18 years of age enrolled in an educational establishment;

b) the position occupied by the employee does not allow work at home or telework.

Days off shall be granted at the request of one of the parents, submitted to the employer of the parent that supervises the child during this period and be accompanied by an affidavit of the other parent, from which should appear that he did not apply for days off in his workplace.

5. Prevention of occupational diseases or illnesses

Employers are required to draw up a prevention and protection plan as well as to ensure personal protective equipment that meets the safety requirements and health at work specific to the workplace.

6. Measures for the business environment

– Imposing travel restrictions on work trips or personal data;

– The ongoing knowledge of the situation of employees, as well as whether they have carried out or are to be carried out in affected or vulnerable territories;

– Updating company documents, including by amending the Internal Regulation with provisions concerning the absence due to illness or for the care of persons close to (parents, children, relatives);

– Implementation of a protocol for visitors to company (if applicable);

– Implementation of an effective internal mechanism for disease reporting;

– Flexibility of teams, including by introducing back-up teams;

– Maintain constant communication with employees.

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