5. Managing COVID-19-Related Employee Issues
Management of quarantine, childcare and medical leave for employees affected by COVID-19.
- Quarantine: If a quarantined employee is able to work and performs work from home, they are entitled to full remuneration for the work done. However, based on the applicable regulations, all persons in quarantine may be treated as temporally unable to work and therefore may apply for sick pay or sick benefit.
- Medical leave for employees affected by COVID-19: A person infected with COVID-19 virus is qualified as unable to work due to illness. Therefore they are entitled to sick pay or sick benefit.
- Childcare: Parents and caregivers of disabled children up to 18 years old are entitled to an additional care allowance in case of closing of a day care centre, children's club, nursery, school or other institution to which the child attends, or the impossibility of the daily caregiver or nanny to care for the child due to COVID-19.
- Other parents and caregivers are entitled to a care allowance based on general rules.
Employees who fear infection and refuse to work.
- Employees are not allowed to refuse to work due to fear of infection. Of course, if the type of duty allow for it, such employees can agree with the employer to provide remote work. If employee refuses to work in fear of infection, they may suffer disciplinary consequences, including dismissal.
Disclosure of employees who are infected.
- There are no specific legal provisions concerning informing of staff in case of a confirmed infection. However it is considered that in such case the employer should not inform the whole staff about the identity of the infected person. Only those who had direct contact with the infected and were estimated to be in a risk group should be informed that somebody (but again – without disclosing the identity) in their surrounding could be or is infected. These employees might, for example, be instructed to perform remote work or to watch themselves for symptoms.
- There is no explicit legal basis for employers to inform the sanitary inspection about COVID-19 cases. It should rather be assumed that since employers have no legal obligation to examine employees in this respect, the sanitary inspection should inform employers about COVID-19 cases, rather than vice versa. Of course, if the employer has doubts about a suspected or detected case, they may contact the sanitary inspection.