The effects of the epidemics caused by COVID-19 have already started showing in the companies’ business, more and more companies having already taken measures aimed at stopping the spread of the virus and at protecting their employees; by seeking ways to cope with the crisis.
Here below, there are some useful measures that any company may implement in order to limit the impact of the coronavirus on the company’s activity.
Work meetings on the special safety and health measures at work
Pursuant to the Law no. 319/2006 on the health and safety at work, the employer is bound to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety and health of the employees.
Hence, there are some measures to be considered in this respect:
Measures for sanitizing the common premises, offices and working equipment;
Personal hygiene measures;
Measures aimed at restricting, reducing and even cancelling of the travels to the areas affected by coronavirus outbreaks or changing the way of operating business;
Measures aimed at informing the employees with respect to the zones known as red zones, about high risk zones or about the areas where sporadic cases of infestation with the new virus have been identified;
Informing the employees about any suspicion of infestation or of a positive-tested case is a must, so that the employee may, in their turn, undertake the necessary protection measures.
To this end, it will be necessary to seek for specific health instructions to the work medicine doctor or to such service provider and to observe the recommendations and instructions of the Government and the State authorities.
Furthermore, calling upon the gathering of the Committee for Safety and Health at work (which is mandatory for companies with more than 50 employees) and/or to hold counsel with the employee’s representatives with respect to the measures to be taken shall be necessary.
Pursuant to the legal provisions, the employer must also ensure the adequate hygiene and sanitizing material, according to the medical recommendations / instructions issued by the State authorities or provided by the collaborators.
Remote work: The employer’s unilateral decision
Pursuant to art. 48 of the Labor Code, in exceptional cases and to ensure protection of the employees, the employer is entitled to decide on the modification of the work place without the agreement of the employee.
In these conditions, the employer must issue a decision stating for the period, the reasons entailing it and the employees considered. Such decision shall be communicated to the concerned employees who must comply with.
Parties’ agreement on telework, including work from home
The employer can agree with the employees on their working remotely, provided that the conditions under the Law no. 81/2018 and the Labor Code are complied with. In this respect, the employment agreement shall include provisions with respect to telework but also all the other mandatory provisions pursuant to the law (especially those on the safety at work).
Therefore, for the employees who have already concluded such Addendum, telework can be used and, if necessary, subsequent adjustments can be made.
For all the other employees, an Addendum to the employment agreement shall be concluded or, if there is no time for such procedure, the employer shall issue a unilateral decision pursuant to the mentions hereinabove.
The employers acting in fields where remote work is not an option, have alternative solutions such as:
Temporary suspension of the activity
All the employers facing difficulties rose from this situation, may consider temporary suspension of the activity for a determined period. In this case, the employees shall be entitled to receive an indemnity amounting to 75% of the gross salary, indemnity to be paid up by the employer.
As for the employees placed under quarantine (meaning those referred to as such by the Sanitary Authorities), they are entitled to sick leave and shall benefit from an indemnity (paid up the State) amounting to 75% of the average of the revenues earned during the last 6 months prior to the date of the commencement of the sick leave. For employees in self-isolation at home, their legal status remains unclear for the time being and only enquiring of the authorities on whether they shall be entitled to a sick leave (paid up the State) or not shall bring light to the matter.
GRUIA DUFAUT LAW OFFICE
Attorneys at law (Paris & Bucharest)