Manual COVID-19: Change of the emergency measure regime and its effects

By an emergency measure of 23 March 2020, the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic prohibits the retail sale and sale of services in establishments (with the exception of certain stores) and certain other activities (prohibition on public presence in catering establishments, etc.) from 24 March from 6:00 to April 1 until 6:00. This is an extension of the actual situation from last week.

From the perspective of the law, however, this is a fundamental change, as a new emergency measure is issued under the regime of Act No. 258/2000 Coll., On the protection of public health as amended (the Health Protection Act) and not under the crisis law regime, as was for last week's emergency measures.

What can this change in the legal regime for emergency measures mean for employees and employers?

  • Emergency measures during the epidemic, which prohibit certain activities to eliminate the epidemic or the danger of its occurrence, if these prohibitions, restrictions or regulations prevent employees from working, are considered as a quarantine for the purposes of the Labor Code (Section 347(4)).
  • In the case of quarantine, employees are entitled to a compensatory Wage in the first 14 days of quarantine in the amount of 60% of the ascertained average earnings. In the following days, he draws sickness insurance benefits.
  • It is not clear whether employers will be provided with a contribution to reimburse wage costs in this situation - point VII of the Labor Law Ten of the Fighting the Coronavirus of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MLSA) does not take this contribution into account.
  • Until 24 March 2020, the MLSA issued an opinion that in the regime of the Crisis Act according to the employment protection program, the compensatory wage or salary is 100%. Subsequently, they allowed other options, depending on the operational circumstances. According to the Antivirus program, the details of which are not known, in this situation the employer will be provided with a contribution of 80% of the paid salary.
  • It seems that this situation will be assessed differently until 24 March 2020 (6 am) and differently from 24 March 2020.
  • In the case of contributions under the Antivirus program, the question also arises, what is meant by the salary paid - gross salary, super-gross salary or net salary paid to employees? The methodology is not yet available.
  • According to the Crisis Act, the body that ordered the crisis measure is liable for the damage. According to the Public Health Act, the costs incurred in fulfilling the obligations in the protection of public health are borne by the person on whom the obligation is imposed. This raises the question of which regulation will apply.
  • It is not yet clear which body of the public health authority will issue to employees the quarantine certificate created in connection with this emergency measures. It is necessary to monitor the websites of the Czech Social Security Administration and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.

Unfortunately, the situation raises more questions than answers. We will keep an eye on it for you.