Saturday, March 2, 2024

EMPLOYERS’ OBLIGATIONS DURING THE STATE OF EMERGENCY

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Government’s decree on this subject, fixing the concrete obligations such as health protection of employees, telework, work from home and ban on business travels, was published in the “Official Gazette”, a few days ago.
During the state of emergency the employers need to organize work outside the usual work place, whenever it’s possible and according to the Labour Law and work contracts. Two forms of this “out of building work” are the telework and the work from home. The decree precisely explains that if such possibilities were not stipulated by the above mentioned acts, the alternative forms of work can be introduced by a simple decision. There is however a clause exempting those who are unable to make such decision “due to circumstances related to the nature of the work process”.
The act issued by an employer must precisely define the work time and the ways of monitoring the employees’ work, but also introduce a register of such workers’ activity. Those unable to organize work outside the building must conform to the state of emergency rules and establish shifts in order to have less people massed together in a closed room.
Other rules oblige the employers to organize their business meetings online (though video-links etc.), postpone business travels (both inside and outside the country), safeguard the hygiene at work place and equip workers with masks, gloves and other protective stuff, if needed.
These measures are only a part of a vast plan aimed at containing the spread of the epidemics. A curfew lasting from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. was put in force two weeks ago, but only a week later it was prolonged and covers the period between 5 p.m. and 5 a.m. The trespassers are to pay fines which exceed 1000 euros (two and half average wages) and end up in prison for few months. The movement of elderly population outside their homes has been fully forbidden, except for a couple of hours, once or twice a week (for necessary shopping and from 4 to 7 a.m. only). The city and interurban traffic was fully suspended, while the employees organize the transport of their workers by special bus lines. One of these days the closure of all roads going out/to Belgrade, Nis and Valjevo – the cities that were particularly hit by the epidemics – is also expected.

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