The outbreak of COVID-19 emergency in Slovakia (among many other EU and non-EU countries) and subsequent measures taken by the Slovak public and other authorities raise several challenging issues also for employers.
We would like to take the opportunity to briefly summarise some of the issues in order to help you with the decision-making process in your business. If you have any further questions, please feel free to revert to Linda Mendelová or to your contact lawyer at Dentons.
Generally, one of the employer's obligations is to protect health and safety at the workplace. In order to ensure health and safety at work, employers shall take adequate measures (which can also include the adoption of precaution measures).
Currently, in particular the following situations may arise in Slovakia:
The employee (or his/her child not older than 10 years) is subject to quarantine measures imposed by the respective Public Health Authority or the child of the employee not older than 10 years is attending a school, which is temporarily closed upon decision of the respective authority
In this case, the employee is subject to so-called personal obstacles to work. During such personal obstacles, the employer is obliged to provide such employee with days off. During such days off, the employee is not entitled to wage compensation. However, such employee is entitled to payment of nursing benefit (in Slovak: oaetrovné) paid by the Social Insurance Company.
The employer adopts precautionary measures in order to protect the health and safety at work
In such case, the employer has the following possibilities:
As the possibility to request employees to work from home is not regulated by the Slovak Labor Code, the employees cannot be ordered to work from home. Such arrangement can only be introduced with the agreement of the relevant employee (and only for types of work, where work from home is possible).
Please note that "home office" is a different legal term from "working from home" (in Slovak: domácka práca). Working from home is possible under the Slovak Labor Code, but only based on a mutually agreed amendment to the respective employment contract.
Generally, the employer may set the terms of vacations based on discussions with employee, based on the agreed plan of vacations and with previous consent of the employees` representatives (if any are active at the workplace). The employer shall notify the employee on taking a vacation at least 14 days prior to taking the vacation.
In the present situation, the obligations hereunder are difficult to meet; therefore, vacation cannot be unilaterally ordered the employer, but can be agreed with the employee.
Obstacles to work at the side of the employer
Provided that the employee is not subject to any of the above categories (or e.g. does not accept taking a vacation or home office), but the employer still wants him/her to take days off, such situation constitutes obstacles to work on the side of the employer. During such period the employer is obliged to provide the employee with wage compensation in the amount of his/her average salary.
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The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.