NEWSLETTER COVID-19 - BASIC MANUAL FOR EMPLOYERS

27.4.2020

Reading time: 12 minutes

 

This basic guide for employers, COVID-19, addresses the following issues:

 

  1. Preventive steps

  1. Information from employees regarding COVID 19

  2. Testing employees at COVID 19

  3. Employee suspected of COVID-19

 

2. Types of quarantine

  1. Ordered quarantine

  2. Unregulated (voluntary) quarantine

 

3. Operational problems caused by COVID-19

  1. Obstacles on the part of the employee (transport, school),

  2. The employee refuses to go to work,

  3. Temporary assignment of an employee

 

4. ANTIVIRUS Program

  1. Regime „A“ - § 191 LC (Labour Code) - obstacle on the part of the employee (quarantine)

  2. Regime „A“ - § 208 LC - other obstacle on the part of the employer (closure of the operation by a government resolution, a measure of the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic or a regional hygienic station)

  3. Regime „B“ - § 208 LC other obstacle on the part of the employer (at least 30% of employees are ill, quarantined or caring for a child, etc.)

  4. Regime „B“ - § 207 letter a) LC - so-called downtime (missing raw materials, components)

  5. Regime „B“ § 209 LC - partial unemployment (restriction of sales - no demand, closed establishment)

 

5. Mass release at the time of COVID-19

  1. Basic conditions of the collective redundancy regime

  2. Notification obligation of the employer

  3. Negotiations on collective redundancies

  4. Written report

  5. Termination of employment in the mode of collective redundancies

 

 

1. Preventive steps

 

i) Information from employees regarding COVID 19

It is advisable to recommend an employee who develops symptoms of COVID-19 after returning from abroad to contact their attending physician and also to instruct him on the possible consequences of concealing a trip abroad, including damages, labor law, misdemeanors and in extreme cases and criminal liability.

The employer is not entitled to prohibit employees from making private trips, regardless of destination. As of the date of this Newsletter, travel to and from the Czech Republic (with a few exceptions) is significantly limited - see section COVDI-19 legislation, overview of legislative measures related to COVID-19.

 

ii) Testing of employees at COVID-19

Quarantine or isolation may be ordered only by a hygienic station or a doctor pursuant to Section 2, Paragraph 6 of Act No. 258/2000 Coll., On the Protection of Public Health, as amended. Therefore, the employer cannot enforce testing for COVID-19 on employees. In this context, it should be noted that some medical facilities offer testing for COVID-19 for a fee.

 

iii) Employee suspected of COVID-19

In case the employer suspects that the employee could be infected with COVID-19, it is appropriate for the employee to be tested for COVID-19 at the relevant regional hygienic station, which will decide whether the test is necessary and decide on quarantine. .

In the event that the employee rejects the employer's recommendation and does not carry out an inspection at the hygienic station, the employer may inform the relevant hygienic station of his suspicions himself.

In this context, it can also be recommended that the employer inform the employee that COVID -19 is already classified as a so-called infectious disease and its spread can be criminal. The Government, by its Decree No. 75/2020 Coll., Amending Government Decree No. 453/2009 Coll., Which, for the purposes of the Criminal Code, stipulates what are considered to be contagious human diseases, contagious animal diseases, contagious plant diseases and pests useful plants, pursuant to the provisions of Section 154 of the Criminal Code, ordered that at the end of Annex No. 1 to Government Order No. 453/2009 Coll. the words "COVID-19" are added to a separate line. You can find more information in our Newsletter COVID-19 from the perspective of criminal law.

 

 

2. Types of quarantine

 

i) Ordered quarantine

§ 191 LC- obstacle to work on the part of the employee

The hygienic station or doctor ordered the employee to quarantine or isolate (according to § 2 par. 6 of Act No. 258/2000 Coll., On the protection of public health, as amended, on the basis of § 191, or § 347 par. 4 LC ), it may also be a quarantine ordered abroad.

Employees are entitled to wage compensation for the first 14 calendar days of the quarantine period in accordance with Section 192 of the Labor Code. This is the same case as in the case of temporary incapacity for work.

An e-incapacity is sent from the CSSA (the quarantine column states "quarantine")

Wage compensation is due in the amount of 60% of the reduced average earnings . This compensation is not subject to social and health insurance contributions (neither by the employee nor by the employer) or income tax from dependent activity. After the first 14 days, it is then provided through the CSSA and the employer proceeds with it as a temporary incapacity for work lasting more than 14 days.

In this case, we recommend the employer (if he meets all the conditions) to submit an application for a contribution from the ANTIVIRUS program to the relevant Labor Office according to the registered office of the employer. More information on the entire ANTIVIRUS program is provided below in Article 4 of this Newsletter.

The quarantine ordered under the ANTIVIRUS program falls under regime A and the amount of the state contribution thus amounts to 80% of the wage compensation, including levies, but a maximum of CZK 39,000 per employee per month.

 

ii) Unregulated (voluntary) quarantine)

If:

  1. the doctor or sanitary station has not decided to quarantine a particular employee, and

  2. the employee is not even incapacitated for work,

the employee is still "normally" employed.

 

If, even in this situation, the employer decides not to stay at the workplace, he has the following alternatives:

  1. § 317 of the Labor Code - the so-called “home-office - ie an agreement on work from home

  2. § 208 and § 209 of the Labor Code - other obstacles to work on the part of the employer

  3. § 114 LC compensatory leave

  4. Unpaid vacation

  5. Holiday

  6. Cancellation of scheduled shifts

 

 

  1. § 317 of the Labor Code - the so-called “home-office - ie an agreement on work from home

 

Option under § 317 of the Labor Code. These agreements have their own specifics and limitations.

 

Below is what needs to be taken into account in the case of the so-called home-office:

 

This Act shall apply to the employment relationships of an employee who does not work at the employer's workplace, but according to the agreed conditions for him performs the agreed work during working hours, which he schedules himself, provided that:

a) it is not subject to the adjustment of working hours, downtime or interruption of work caused by adverse weather conditions,

b) in the event of other important personal obstacles at work, he is not entitled to compensation of wages or salary, unless the implementing legal regulation provides otherwise (§ 199 para. 2) or if it is compensation of wages or salary pursuant to § 192; for the purposes of providing compensation for wages or salaries pursuant to Section 192, the stipulated working hours for shifts, which the employer is obliged to determine for this purpose, shall apply to this employee,

c) he is not entitled to wages or salary or compensatory leave for overtime work or compensatory leave or compensation for wages or allowance for work on public holidays.

 

 

2. § 208 and § 209 of the Labor Code - other obstacles to work on the part of the employer

 

Another option for the employer is to send employees "to the so-called obstacles"

The basic provisions in this regard are set out below:

 

§ 208 ZP

If the employee was unable to perform the work due to obstacles on the part of the employer than those listed in § 207, he is entitled to compensation of wages or salary in the amount of average earnings ; this does not apply if the working time account has been applied (§ 86 and § 87 of the Labor Code).

 

§ 209 ZP

(1) An obstacle to work on the part of an employer other than that specified in § 109 para. 3 of the Labor Code also applies when the employer cannot assign work to an employee within weekly working hours due to temporary restrictions on sales or demand for his products. services provided (partial unemployment).

(2) If, in cases pursuant to paragraph 1, the agreement between the employer and the trade union adjusts the amount of the provided wage compensation, which belongs to the employee, the wage compensation must be at least 60% of the average earnings; if the employer does not have a trade union, the agreement may be replaced by an internal regulation .

 

For illustration and clarification only, we present § 207 LC below

§ 207 ZP

Downtime and work interruptions caused by adverse weather conditions

If the employee cannot do the work

(a) for a temporary defect caused by a failure of the machinery which he did not cause, in the supply of raw materials or propulsion, faulty working documents or other operational causes, it is a downtime and , if he has not been transferred to another job , is entitled to compensation of wages of at least 80% of average earnings,

(b) as a result of interruption of work caused by adverse climatic events or natural disasters and if he has not been transferred to another job , he shall be entitled to a wage compensation of at least 60% of average earnings.

 

 

3. § 114 LC compensatory leave

If the employee has worked overtime and other legal conditions are met, he can use it in the form of compensatory leave. It should be noted that according to § 114 para. 2 of the Labor Code, if the employer does not provide the employee with compensatory leave within 3 calendar months after overtime or otherwise agreed time, the employee is entitled to a supplement to the achieved wage according to § 114 para.

 

 

4. Unpaid leave

At the request of the employee, the employer may allow him to take unpaid leave.

 

 

5. Vacation

Possibility to order employees a holiday, even without his consent; however, leave must be ordered 14 days in advance, unless a shorter period has been agreed. It cannot be ordered at the time of the ordered quarantine. On the contrary, the already used leave continues to run in the case of the ordered quarantine.

 

 

6. Cancellation of planned shifts

Possibility for employees to adjust the shift schedule, even without their consent; however, the shift schedule must be set 14 days in advance, unless a shorter period has been agreed.

 

 

3. Operational problems caused by COVID-19

 

i) Obstacles on the part of the employee (transport, school)

 

Transport

In the event of an unforeseeable failure of public transport, an employee who has not been able to get to work on time and properly is entitled to paid leave.

School

The law provides for situations such as:

  • for the period of quarantine ordered pursuant to a special legal regulation,

  • during the treatment of the child according to the legal conditions or another member of the household according to the legal conditions

  • and other

In the above cases, the employer is obliged to apologize to the employee at work and the employee has the right to nursing allowance.

 

ii) The employee refuses to go to work

The Labor Code allows an employee to refuse to perform hazardous work if the work directly and seriously endangers his life or health, or the life or health of other people.

However, the conditions for refusing work are very strict, and in the case of only general concerns about COVID-19 infection, in our opinion they are not met.

In these cases, in our opinion, it is most appropriate to try to find a solution together with the employee, such as the possibility of working from home, taking a vacation or providing unpaid leave.

If the employee nevertheless refuses to come to work, it is an unexcused absence, for which the employer may affect him.

Another situation may arise in some specific cases that need to be assessed on an individual basis (immunocompromised persons, difficulty breathing, heart disease, etc.).

 

iii) Temporary assignment of an employee according to § 43a ZP

 

The so-called temporary assignment of an employee can also be a temporary solution to a situation where the employer does not have a job for its employees. For example, the Czech Chamber of Commerce, which launched the "save work" project, is active in this direction. Details can be found at

https://www.komora.cz/zachranpraci/

 

The issue of temporary assignment of an employee is regulated by Section 43a of the Labor Code.

 

Here are the most important things in this regard:

 

The agreement on the temporary assignment of an employee to another employer may be concluded by the employer with this employee no earlier than 6 months after the date of employment. No remuneration may be provided for the temporary assignment of an employee to another employer; this does not apply with regard to the reimbursement of costs that were incurred in accordance with § 43a para. 5 of the Labor Code. During the period of temporary assignment, the employee is provided with a wage or salary, or travel allowances, as the case may be.

 

The agreement must specify:

  1. the name of the employer, if it is a legal entity, or the name or names and surnames of the employer, if it is a natural person to whom the employee is temporarily assigned,

  2. the day on which the temporary assignment occurs,

  3. type and place of work

  4. and the period for which the secondment is agreed.

  5.  

A regular workplace for the purposes of travel allowances may be agreed in the agreement; the provisions of § 34a ZP are not affected by this. The agreement must be concluded in writing.

 

During the temporary assignment of an employee to another employer, it assigns work tasks to the employee on behalf of the employer who seconded the employee, organizes, manages and controls his work, gives him binding instructions, creates favorable working conditions and ensures safety and health protection. at work, the employer to whom the employee has been temporarily assigned. This employer may not legally act against the seconded employee on behalf of the employer who seconds the employee.

 

The working and wage or salary conditions of an employee temporarily assigned to another employer may not be worse than or would be the conditions of a comparable employee of the employer to whom the employee is temporarily assigned.

 

The temporary assignment ends at the end of the period for which it was agreed. Prior to the expiry of this period, the secondment shall terminate by agreement of the parties to the employment contract or termination of the temporary assignment agreement for any reason or no reason, giving 15 days' notice beginning on the date the notice is given to the other party. The agreement terminating the temporary assignment or terminating this agreement must be in writing.

 

It is prohibited to apply the temporary assignment arrangement to agency work. The temporary assignment adjustment shall not apply in cases of deepening or upgrading of qualifications.

 

 

 

4. ANTIVIRUS Program

 

The ANTIVIRUS program approved by the Government of the Czech Republic by Resolution No. 353/2020 of 31 March 2020 pursuant to Section 120 of Act No. 435/2004 Coll., On Employment, as amended (hereinafter referred to as the “Employment Act”).

 

It has been operating since 6.4.2020 . Applications from employers are accepted by the Labor Office of the Czech Republic (locally competent according to the seat of the employer) via a web application available at www.uradprace.cz , communication takes place exclusively electronically.

 

The ANTIVIRUS program applies to companies in the corporate sphere.

 

Exceptions to the ANTIVIRUS contribution:

  • employers in state administration

  • agreements on the performance of work or work activities

  • in the event that the employer terminated the employee's employment or the employment relationship was terminated at the time the statement was submitted

  • if the employer received another contribution for the employee from the Labor Office of the Czech Republic

  • if the wage compensation is covered by other public budgets

  • the employer is in liquidation or bankruptcy proceedings

  • In the period of 3 years before the date of submission of the application, the employer was fined for allowing the performance of illegal work (according to § 5 letter e) point 3 of Act No. 435/2004 Coll., on Employment, as amended).

 

The allowance is intended to cover the employer's wage costs consisting in the payment of wages and salaries, including levies, and only for employees. The contribution can be obtained by all employers - the condition is at least one of the employees in an employment relationship who participates in sickness and pension insurance according to Czech legislation and which falls under the conditions of regime A or B of the Antivirus program. In the case of foreign employees, it is therefore decisive whether they are employed under Czech law and participate in the Czech pension and sickness insurance.

The allowance is provided exclusively to employees who are still employees at the time the employer submits the statement and have not been dismissed on the date of submission of the statement, nor are they on notice (with the exception of the notice defined by the Labor Code pursuant to § 52 letter g) - therefore the reasons for the immediate termination of employment and letter. h) - breach of duty by the employee in a particularly gross manner).

The condition for the payment of the allowance is that the employer has actually paid wages or compensation of wages to the employees and duly paid the compulsory insurance premiums for public health insurance and social security and the contribution to the state employment policy for the employees and the employer.

 

Wage compensation is divided into two regimes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mode A

 

Ad 1) § 191 ZP - an obstacle to work on the part of the employee

The hygienic station or the doctor ordered the employees to quarantine or isolate (according to § 2 par. 6 of Act No. 258/2000 Coll., On the protection of public health, as amended, on the basis of § 191, or § 347 par. 4 ZP), it can also be a quarantine ordered abroad.

Employees are entitled to wage compensation for the first 14 calendar days of the quarantine period in accordance with Section 192 of the Labor Code. This is the same case as in the case of temporary incapacity for work. An e-incapacity is sent from the CSSA (the quarantine column states "quarantine")

Wage compensation is due in the amount of 60% of the reduced average earnings. This compensation is not subject to social and health insurance contributions (neither by the employee nor by the employer) or income tax from dependent activity. After the first 14 days, it is then provided through the CSSA and the employer proceeds with it as a temporary incapacity for work lasting more than 14 days.

 

Source: http://delfy.cz/ucetni-podpora/mzdy/vypocty/pumerny-vydelek-redukovany/

 

Ad 2) Section 208 of the Labor Code - another obstacle on the part of the employer (closure of the operation by a government resolution within the state of emergency, or by a measure of the Ministry of Health and a regional hygienic station)

 

The measures in force at the time when the obstacle at work arises, ie at the time during which the employer will apply for a contribution, are decisive.

In accordance with § 208 ZP, the employer is obliged to pay employees compensation of wages in the amount of 100% of the average earnings of the employee, this compensation is subject to levies (social and health for employees and employers) and income tax from dependent activities.

The employer shall state in the application / statement the amount of the paid wage compensation and the part of the statutory levies that corresponds to the amount of the paid compensation.

 

The amount of the contribution in Mode A: 80% of the wage compensation, including contributions, but a maximum of CZK 39,000 per employee per month .

 

 

Mode B (related economic difficulties)

 

Ad 1) § 208 LC other obstacle on the part of the employer (at least 30% of employees are ill, quarantined, or caring for a child, etc.)

A substantial part of the employees is missing, and therefore the employer cannot assign work to the remaining employees.

In accordance with § 208 ZP, the employer is obliged to pay employees compensation of wages in the amount of 100% of the average earnings of the employee, this compensation is subject to levies (social and health for employees and employers) and income tax from dependent activities.

 

Ad 2) § 207 a) LC - downtime (raw materials missing)

The employer is obliged to pay the employee compensation of 80% of his average earnings

 

Ad 3) § 209 LC - partial unemployment (lack of demand)

The employer is obliged to pay the employee compensation of at least 60% of his average earnings (it can be adjusted otherwise according to the agreement with the trade union or according to internal regulations).

 

Rules common to the situation ad 2) and ad 3)

In both cases, wage compensation is subject to levies (social and health for employees and employers) and income tax from dependent activity.

In both cases, it is possible that employees work part-time, eg one day a week, or only part of the working time each day (depending on the type of operation and specific conditions). In such a case, for the actual time worked, employees receive a salary corresponding to the actual time worked and they are reimbursed for the part of the working time that they could not work due to obstacles.

Facts proving the link between the emergence of a specific obstacle at work and the epidemiological situation both in the Czech Republic and abroad will not be required of the employer to assess the justification for the provision of the allowance .

The employer shall state in the application / statement the amount of the paid wage compensation and the part of the statutory levies that corresponds to the amount of the paid compensation.

 

Amount of the SCHEME B contribution: 60% of the wage compensation, including contributions, but a maximum of CZK 29,000 per employee per month .

 

 

5. Collective redundancies during and immediately after COVID-19

 

One of the most radical (unfortunately probably with regard to the economic impacts of COVID-19) frequent solution to the COVID-19 situation will be mass redundancies. Please note that the regime of collective redundancies has its own strict rules and non-compliance with them can have negative legal consequences for employers. In practice, many companies may not be fully aware that employers with more than 20 employees are already covered by the collective redundancy regime.

 

 

i) Basic conditions of the collective redundancy regime

According to § 62 of the Labor Code, collective redundancies mean the termination of employment in a period of 30 calendar days on the basis of notice given by the employer for the reasons stated in § 52 letter a) to c) at least

  • 10 employees at an employer employing from 20 to 100 employees,

  • 10% of the employees of an employer employing between 101 and 300 employees, or

  • 30 employees at an employer employing more than 300 employees.

If the first employment relationship of at least 5 employees ends under the conditions stated above, the employees with whom the employer terminated the employment relationship during this period for the same reasons by agreement shall also be included in the total number of employees mentioned above.

 

The provisions of § 62 and § 63 of the Labor Code also apply to cases where the competent authority has decided on collective redundancies - § 52 letter c) ZP.

 

 

ii) Obligation to notify the employer

Prior to giving notice to individual employees, the employer is obliged to inform the trade union and the employees' council in writing of its intention in a timely manner, no later than 30 days in advance ; is also obliged to inform about

a) the reasons for the collective redundancies,

b) the number and occupational composition of the staff to be made redundant,

c) the number and professional composition of all employees employed by the employer,

d) the time at which the collective redundancies are to take place,

e) aspects proposed for the selection of staff to be made redundant,

f) severance pay , or other rights of dismissed employees.

 

At the same time, the employer is obliged to inform the regional branch of the Labor Office competent according to the place of activity of the employer about the measures, especially about the reasons for these measures, the total number of employees, the number and structure of employees to whom these measures are to apply. collective redundancies, the proposed aspects for the selection of redundant workers and the opening of negotiations with the trade union and the Works Council. One copy of the written information shall be delivered by the employer to the trade union and to the works council.

 

 

iii) Negotiations on collective redundancies

The subject of negotiations with the trade union and the employees' council is to reach agreement, especially on measures aimed at preventing or reducing collective redundancies, mitigating its adverse consequences for employees, especially the possibility of their inclusion in suitable employment at other workplaces of the employer.

 

 

iv) Written report

The employer is obliged to § 62 paragraph. 5 demonstrably delivered to the regional branch of the Labor Office according to the place of activity of the employer a written report of its decision on collective redundancies and the results of negotiations with the trade unions and the Works Council. The report shall also indicate the total number of employees and the number and occupational composition of the employees concerned by the collective redundancies. One copy of this report shall be delivered to the trade union and to the works council. The trade union and the employees' council have the right to express their opinion on the employer's written report and deliver this statement to the regional branch of the Labor Office competent according to the place of activity of the employer. An employer on whom a decision on bankruptcy has been issued is obliged to deliver a written report to the regional branch of the Labor Office only at its request.

 

In the event that no trade union or employee council is established or operating for the employer, the employer is obliged to fulfill the obligations specified in Section 62, Paragraphs 2 to 5 of the Labor Code towards each employee to whom the collective redundancy relates.

 

 

v) Termination of employment in the collective redundancy regime

The employment relationship of a collective redundant employee terminates at the earliest after a period of 30 consecutive days from the delivery of the employer's written report pursuant to § 62 para. 5 to the regional branch of the Labor Office competent according to the employer's place of activity, unless the employee declares that he does not insist. This does not apply if a decision on bankruptcy of the employer has been issued.

The employer is obliged to inform the employee of the date of delivery of this written report of the employer to the regional branch of the Labor Office.

 

In the case of collective redundancies, it is also important to think about the two-month notice period, which begins on the first day of the month following the delivery of the written notice to the employee, as well as the severance pay due to employees in the amount of at least:

  • 1 average monthly earnings if the employment lasted less than 1 year;

  • 2 average monthly earnings if the employment lasted at least 1 year but less than 2 years;

  • 3 average monthly earnings if the employment lasted at least 2 years.

©2020 by VARGA Legal advokátní kancelář s.r.o.