France: Masks Made Mandatory in the Workplace
Following a health protocol published by the Ministry of Labour, the wearing of masks for the general public is made “systematic in closed and shared spaces within companies (meeting rooms, open space, corridors, changing rooms, shared offices …)” from September 1, 2020. Companies have a few days in order to get compliant.
In the case of individual offices, the mask does not have to be worn if there is only one person present, the government protocol states.
In order to cut short any debate about the enforceability and legally binding nature of the sanitary protocol, it is recommended to integrate the rules relating to masks in the company handbook or in a service note sent to all employees. This way, the rules are clearly communicated, and employers are better covered in regards to their health and safety obligations as an employer.
The masks for the general public, preferably reusable, covering the nose and mouth, meet the specifications of the Afnor S76-001 standard or, for imported masks, the specifications of similar standardization bodies.
If an employee refuses to wear the mask, this will constitute an act of misconduct that can be the object of disciplinary measures by the employer. The employer will be able to decide which level of sanction is appropriate for the situation. This reinforces the benefits to include the mask-wearing obligation in the Company Handbook, as it relates to the employer’s disciplinary prerogatives.
In addition, regarding businesses usually operating in “flex-office”, the government protocol advises to assign a fixed desk space to employees in order to avoid free placement at a workstation that could be an infection risk.
For more information please contact Joseph Granato, Communications Manager at L&E Global at email@example.com.