Slovakia: LEX COVID - Third wave: Employers can check the Covid-19 passes of their employees
In response to the current third wave of coronavirus infections and the steadily worsening situation in Slovakia, on 12 November 2021 the National Council of the Slovak Republic approved an act amending several acts, including the Labour Code. The Act is effective.
What are the latest changes?
- obligation of employees to show either a confirmation of being vaccinated against Covid-19, a confirmation of having recovered from the disease, or a negative test result, when entering the workplace
- free tests for staff
- withdrawal of pandemic sickness benefit which meant reduced costs for employers, since the benefit was paid by the Social Insurance Authority from the first day
1. Entry to workplace ONLY with confirmation or test result
At the time of the effectiveness of measures aimed at preventing the emergence and spread of infectious diseases or measures in case of public health emergency adopted by the competent public health authority, the amendment to the Labour Code introduces the obligation of employees to provide a confirmation of being vaccinated, having recovered, or being tested, which the employers are entitled to check. The obligation is limited in time until 1 May 2022.
The employers may require their employees to either provide the respective confirmation/test result or to be tested. The employers thus obtain a tool which enables them to take measures to prevent or minimise the spread of a contagious disease.
If an employee fails to provide the respective document, the employer will ensure free testing of such employee. If the employee refuses to be tested, the employer may not allow the employee to enter the workplace and carry out their work. A situation of this kind will be classified as an obstacle to work on part of the employee without wage compensation entitlement, unless the employer and the employee have agreed on wage compensation, work from home, or leave.
The specifics of free provision of tests to the employers for period until end of November 2021 will be determined by the Slovak Government.
2. What are the rules in restaurants and shops?
In certain premises, such as restaurants and shops, the compliance with particular measures will still have to be checked. For this purpose, the persons entering such premises may be required to provide a proof of their identity as well as a confirmation of being vaccinated, tested or having recovered from the disease. Persons who refuse to prove their identity will have to be denied entry to or ejected from the premises.
State supervisory bodies – with assistance of the Police Department – will be entitled to close certain premises on the ground of Covid-19 disease.
3. Pandemic sickness benefit to be withdrawn from 1 December 2021
According to the proposed changes to the Act No 461/2003 Z. z. on social insurance, the pandemic sickness benefit should be withdrawn. It has been proposed that employees who are incapable to work due to ordered quarantine or isolation will – from 1 December 2021 – be covered by the standard sickness benefit legislation. Even though the legislators’ intention is to level the amount of sickness benefits, a side effect is increased costs for employers who will pay wage compensation as with other sickness absence, i.e. during the first 10 days of employee’s absence (first three days, 25% of daily assessment basis, and then, 55%).
4. Income compensation during incapacity for work to be claimed by notifying the employer
Under the proposed amendment to the Act No 462/2003 Z. z. on compensation of income during employee’s incapacity for work, the procedure for claiming compensation of income during temporary incapacity for work due to ordered quarantine should change. The aim is to minimise the epidemic risk when claiming the compensation during a state of emergency due to Covid-19. Therefore, employees will be entitled to claim their compensation of income by merely notifying the employer, as opposed to the current procedure where they have to submit a confirmation.
Practice group: Employment & Pensions