Truths and myths about employer responsibilities during the quarantine
The first myth
It is forbidden to hold mass events that involve more than 200 people, which means that companies with a staff of more than 200 people are required to restrict employees’ access to work.
True: Regular work does not fall under the definition of a mass event, and therefore there is no obligation for large employers to review the format of work.
The second myth
The employer must grant additional leave to mothers of young children in connection with the introduction of quarantine in educational institutions.
True: Additional leave without pay for the care of children under 14 years of age must be granted for the entire period of introduction of the quarantine at the choice of the family member who actually cares for the child (this can be either the child’s mother or his father, grandmother, grandfather or another relative).
The third myth
Employers are required to monitor the health status of all their employees in order to exclude the potential impact of risk factors on those employees who do not have symptoms of the disease.
True: Information about the health status of each employee refers to their personal data with limited access. With the exception of certain categories of employees for whom regular medical examinations are a prerequisite for admission to work (for example, employees engaged in services where the infectious disease may be common), employers do not have the right to require their employees to undergo medical examinations or disclose information about their health status.
The fourth myth
The employer is obliged to temporarily suspend those employees who returned from abroad.
True: Compulsory suspension from work can only be used by an employer in cases expressly provided for by law. For example, in case of refusal or evasion of mandatory medical examination.
Moreover, according to the recommendations of the world health organization and the European center for disease prevention and control, stay in a country where cases of the disease are recorded, as well as a joint flight with carriers of the virus, is considered a low degree of contact for the purpose of assessing the risk of infection. To date, there is no evidence that keeping people who have recently returned from countries where multiple cases have been reported in quarantine will be an effective way to protect against the spread of infection.
However, in agreement with the employee, a voluntary “quarantine” with pay can be used as one of the preventive measures to prevent the spread of the disease among your company’s staff.
What actions can and should be taken:
1. Encourage employees to work remotely. If your company still does not have an internal policy on how to work remotely, it’s time to develop it, approve it, and familiarize all employees with its contents under the signature.
2. Carry out regular preventive disinfection measures of the working area.
3. Get written consent of employees to temporarily take preventive measures such as assessment of their health status, suspension from work if symptoms of the disease are detected.
4. Get employees’ consent to collect and process data about their health status.
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