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Coronavirus – Practical employers guide – Czech Republic

  • Czech Republic
  • Coronavirus
  • Employment law

22-05-2020

We are continually updating this guide in response to the gradual publication of official information by public authorities. Latest update: 22 May 2020, 15:00 Restrictions on the movement of persons, Travel abroad and entry of foreigners, Compulsory quarantine, Prohibition of public and private events, Restrictions on restaurants, Retail sale and services, Leisure activities and sports, End of quarantine - Return of employees to work).

We are bringing employers up-to-date practical recommendations and advice.

State of emergency

On 17 May 2020, the state of emergency in the entire territory of the Czech Republic, which lasted from 12 March 2020, ended.

Emergency measures of the Czech Republic

In connection with the development of the epidemiological situation in the occurrence of coronavirus in Europe, the following measures are still in force at present.

1. Restrictions on the movement of persons

  • 24 April 2020, the general ban on the free movement of persons in the Czech Republic was cancelled.
  • Newly, in public places people are only ordered to stay in the maximum number of ten people, with the exception of household members, occupation, business or other similar activities or participation in a funeral, and to keep a distance of at least 2 meters from other people.
  • It is recommended that employers make the most of teleworking, support the taking of holiday and paid time off.
  • Other recommendations include limiting employee contact with the public, keeping a distance of at least 2 meters, prioritizing contactless payments, and thorough disinfection of premises.
  • From 12 May 2020 onwards, persons are required to wear respiratory protective equipment on all places outside their home (covering mouth and nose) such as a respirator, drape, face mask or any scarf or any other means that can help prevent the spread of droplets, whereas this ban should apply until 25. 5. 2020. The above obligation applies to any movement outside persons' home, even for a minimum period. The following are exempted from this Regulation:
    • Children under two years of age
    • Public transport drivers who are alone in a closed cabin separated from the passenger area,
    • Children up to 7 years of age during a stay in a kindergarten or in a children's group and pedagogical staff in a kindergarten and carers in a children's group,
    • Children, pupils, students, participants in education and pedagogical staff of school facilities providing education within one room, if the spacing of at least 1.5 m is maintained;
      students and participants in admission procedures for school facilities, if the spacing of at least 1.5 m is maintained and if there is a maximum of 15 people in the room,
      persons with severe autism spectrum disorders intellectual disorder or cognitive or mental disorder,
    • Persons in a closed vehicle if they are all members of the common household,
    • Employees during their stay in the office, if they work at least 2 meters from another person.
    • Public transport drivers, if they are themselves separated from the rest of the space in an enclosed cabin
    • Persons performing the author's work (theater, dance, music) and persons performing the creation of the work and moderators, editors and similar persons performing in programs independently without guests
      • the obligation to pass a medical test with a negative result every 14 days, to maintain a distance of at least 2 m between individual performers).
  • From 25 March 2020, the time between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. is reserved in retail food stores and stores with hygienic and drugstore goods with area of more than 500 m2 exclusively for persons over 65 years of age and their necessary excort, with the exception of persons holding a ZTP/P card, employees or persons providing nursing service and owners or employees of the store operator.
  • In stores with are smaller than 500 m2, aforesaid persons should be only preferred.
  • From 14 April 2020 the regime should be loosened and it will be allowed to travel abroad, for example, to carry out a business trip, visit relatives or your doctor. However, after returning to the Czech Republic, these persons must be quarantined for 14 days.

2. Foreign travel and entry of foreign nationals

  • With effect from 31 March 2020 from 00:00 o'clock, it was forbidden to travel abroad to citizens of the Czech Republic and persons with permanent or temporary residence over 90 days to all countries. All foreigners are also prohibited from entering the Czech Republic.
  • With effect from 18 May 2020, made the following exceptions are laid down in the general prohibition on crossing borders for:
    • family members of Czech citizens,
    • critical infrastructure service personnel
    • if the entry of foreigners is in the interest of the Czech Republic,
    • for cross-border workers, pupils and students who regularly cross national borders in order to work or study,
    • for international transport and critical infrastructure service personnel,
    • diplomats and officials of international organizations,
    • in urgent emergency situations, visit to a doctor, office, necessary care for close relatives),
    • EU citizens entering the territory of the Czech Republic demonstrably for the purpose of performing economic activity (for a maximum period of 72 hours, the obligation to submit a certificate of completion of a health test),
    • EU citizens entering the territory of the Czech Republic for the purpose of study (obligation to submit a certificate of completion of a health test),
    • seasonal workers (third-country national).
  • The fulfilment of exceptions and the reason for departure must be properly documented in individual cases (e.g. confirmation of employer, summons to the office, medical examination).
  • Cross border workers (pendlers) are ordered to restrict movement in the Czech Republic to the necessary minimum. These persons are still not a subject to the exceptions to the prohibition of free movement of persons in the Czech Republic, such as necessary trips to family and relatives, stay in the countryside or parks or trips for the purpose of handling urgent official matters.
  • Cross-border workers, pupils and students are required to present a test certificate when crossing the border, and the health test must not be older than 4 days.
  • Confirmation of passing the test does not have to be submitted by health and social care workers, the KICs or a critical infrastructure entity if the travel time has been more than 14 days.
  • EU citizens who enter the Czech Republic for the purpose of economic activity or study with the intention of staying there for more than 72 hours are obliged to inform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by remote access about the date and method of entry into the Czech Republic.
  • You can find a list of places with map to cross border HERE.
  • A summary of all rules for entry into the territory of the Czech Republic and quarantine measures developed by the Ministry of the Interior can be found here for Czech citizens here and for foreigners here.

3. Mandatory quarantine after crossing borders

  • All persons entering the Czech Republic are required to notify their practitioner immediately upon entry into the Czech Republic by telephone or other remote access and then undergo quarantine.
  • Exceptions have been set when citizens of the Czech Republic and persons with permanent residence are not obliged to undergo quarantine after crossing the border if:
    • citizens of the Czech Republic and their foreign family members submit a certificate of completion of the test,
    • cross-border workers and students provide proof of passing a health test (obligation to submit the test once every 30 days),
    • persons have traveled in an emergency for less than 24 hours,
    • international transport staff, critical infrastructure service staff, diplomats or officials have traveled for less than 14 days and submit a certificate of completion of the test,
    • persons traveled for the purpose of performing economic activity for a period of less than 72 hours (Citizens of the Czech Republic can, however, avoid quarantine, even if the travel time will be longer than 72 hours if they submit a confirmation of passing the test when crossing the border),
    • seasonal staff shall submit a certificate of completion of the test, together with a certificate issued by the relevant laboratory.
  • EU citizens entering the Czech Republic do not have to complete the quarantine if they submit a certificate of passing a health test with a negative result and if their stay in the Czech Republic does not exceed the required period (see the division according to the purpose of the trip).
  • Mandatory quarantine does not apply to workers in the area of health and social services, IRS units and critical infrastructure (if they stay in the Czech Republic for less than 14 days - foreign workers), transit EU citizens and foreigners authorized to stay in the EU.
  • All persons who enter the territory of the Czech Republic and do not complete quarantine are obliged to restrict their free movement for a period of 14 days from entry into the Czech Republic, and only to the minimum necessary in the form of travel to work or travel for basic necessities.

4. Mandatory quarantine for persons who have been in contact with a patient infected with coronavirus

  • All physicians are instructed to order a 14-day quarantine period for persons who have been told by the respective Regional Hygiene Station that they have been in contact with a patient who has been confirmed to have coronavirus infection.
  • Such persons are obliged to cooperate with doctors and to comply with mandated quarantines.

5. School closures

  • All primary, secondary, tertiary and professional schools and universities were closed with effect from 11 March 2020 until further notice and therefore the personal presence of pupils and students were prohibited. School staff were not affected by the ban and it is recommended that teaching be carried out using means of distance communication.
  • The obligation to close school also applies to primary arts schools.
  • Preschools will remain open. However, many preschools are still closed or at least their capacity is limited.
  • From 27 April, 2020, the presence of students in libraries and study rooms, consultations or examinations (max. 5 persons), laboratory, experimental or artistic work, especially for the implementation of final theses and clinical and practical training, is possible. Individual visits to libraries and study rooms are also permitted.
  • Again from 11 May 2020, the presence of certain groups of pupils at primary, secondary and higher vocational schools will be allowed, with a maximum number of 15 people in the group. These are the following groups of students:
    • pupils in the last years, taking the final / school-leaving examination,
    • 9th grade elementary school students preparing for high school exams.
  • At the same time, language and basic art schools can start teaching their pupils again from 11 May 2020 in a maximum number of 15 people in a study group.
  • From 25 May 2020, teaching will also be resumed for primary school pupils and in preparatory classes for primary schools. Attendance will not be compulsory and pupils can form groups of up to 15 pupils.
It is the duty of the pupil, student or his / her legal representative, before the first entry into the school facility, to sign an affidavit stating that there are no symptoms of a viral infectious disease (fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc.).

6. Ban on public and private events

  • By its Resolution of 11 May 2020, the Government allowed all cultural, sporting, religious and similar events with the participation maximum of 100 persons, both public and private.
  • The prohibition do not apply to meetings and similar actions of constitutional bodies, public authorities, courts and other public or private persons (General Meeting of a public limited company) held by law, and funerals.
  • When holding mass events outdoors or indoors, it is necessary to:
    • maintain a distance of at least 2 meters between persons (except for household members);
    • that participants have a container of disinfectant available for hand disinfection
  • However, the Government, by its resolution, which subsequently prohibited the free movement of persons in the Czech Republic, canceled its resolution on the prohibition of public events.
  • Cultural events can actually take place, but because of the obligation to appear in maximum number of 10 people in public, no one can participate in these events.
  • From 11 May 2020 it is allowed to hold a wedding ceremony in the total number of max. 10 persons (including officials). Brides and grooms are not required to wear respiratory protection during the ceremony, but other participants are still required to maintain a distance of at least 2 meters from other persons (except household members and the bride and groom).
  • Church services are allowed to take place from 11 May 2020 only with the maximum participation of 15 people, participants will continue to observe the spacing of 2 meters and will use respiratory protective equipment and disinfection when entering the area. After the service, the space is properly ventilated and disinfected.
  • Participation in the association's activities is allowed under the conditions of presence of a maximum of 10 people, distances of 2 meters are observed between the participants and disinfectants are available.

7. Restrictions on restaurants

  • From 11 May 2020, the presence of the public in the interiors of catering services, with the exception of establishments not serving the public (employee catering, catering for social services, prison catering), when the so-called gardens can already be opened.
  • Operators must comply with the following rules when operating catering services outdoors:
    • a distance of at least 1.5 m must be maintained between individual customers (except for customers sitting at one table);
    • actively prevent the gathering of persons
    • the possibility of disinfecting customers' hands is ensured;
    • disinfection of tables and chairs is carried out before the establishment of each new group of customers;
    • the customer is not obliged to wear respiratory protective equipment during the consumption of food or beverages.
  • This prohibition shall not apply to off-premises sales through the dispensing window or to take-away meals purchased without entering the premises. This type of sale is not subject to any time restrictions.

8. Retail and services

  • From 11 March 2020, it is possible to operate most retail stores or provide services in establishments again. However, the ban still applies to:

    • the operation of taxi services, with the exception of services delivering food or persons with a taxi driver's license (the ban therefore applies in particular to Uber or Bolt services);
    • public presence in indoor pools and saunas;
    • tours of interiors in castles and chateaux;
    • sale of accommodation services with the exception of accommodation in hostels, spa facilities (for the purpose of providing spa medical rehabilitation care) and school accommodation facilities, while the prohibition does not apply to the provision of accommodation to persons for professional or other similar activities to foreigners until leaving the Czech Republic, foreigners with a work permit, persons who have been quarantined by the public health protection authority and persons at risk of domestic violence.
    • carrying out activities that are trades and in which the integrity of the skin is violated (tattoos, piercings).
  • Retail food shops with self-service are obliged to provide one-time gloves to customers.
  • It is possible to provide retail sales at farmers' and other outdoor markets only if they do not sell food exclusively for immediate consumption and provide tastings, a distance between the stalls of at least 2 meters will be ensured. Disinfection containers need to be provided and workers wear gloves when in contact with goods and customers.
  • The following rules must be observed when operating shopping centers with a sales area exceeding 5,000 m2:
    • the obligation to provide at least one person to supervise compliance with hygiene rules;
    • instructions for customers are communicated through information boards or leaflets;
    • it is necessary to require spacing of 2 meters between persons in publicly accessible areas with a visible sign, and thus to prevent the gathering of persons;
    • ensure hand disinfection at each entrance to the shopping center and in all stores in the cash registers;
    • children's corners and similar services are not operated.
  • Specific conditions must be observed by persons performing barber, hairdresser, manicure, massage and other cosmetic needs, where operators are obliged to use double respiratory protection (drape and protective shield) and always disinfect their hands and use new gloves or towels before switching to another customer.
  • At the same time, it is ordered that the following rules will be complied in all facilities in which operation is not prohibited:
    • actively prevent crowding
    • ensure customer queue management, both inside and outside the establishment (designation of waiting area, placement of tags for the minimum spacing – 2 meters),
    • place disinfectants and protective near frequently touched objects (handles, railings, shopping trolleys), for both employees and customers,
    • ensure that employees wear gloves when in contact with goods and when receiving payments from customers
    • inform customers about the rules (by information leaflet or speaker in establishment)
  • The ban does not apply to the provision of accommodation for persons for the purpose of pursuing a profession or other similar activity, foreigners until they leave the Czech Republic, foreigners with a work permit, persons quarantined by the public health authority and persons at risk of domestic violence.
  • Driving schools can run from 27 April 2020, with a maximum of 5 people taking part in theoretical training and consultations, and there will be no more than 2 people in the vehicle during practical training and with proper disinfection of hands and vehicles.
  • From 27 April, zoological, botanical and similar establishments can be visited by visitors on the basis of tickets purchased online, where the number of visitors is limited to 150 persons/ day /1 ha of area and the operator is still obliged to prevent the accumulation of persons and compliance with the minimum distances. The inner pavilions remain closed.

9. Closure of establishments providing leisure activities and sport

  • From 11.5.2020, sports are allowed in indoor and outdoor sports grounds, in parks, in nature and in other publicly accessible places, namely:

    • in a maximum number of 100 people playing together;
    • with a ban on the use of shared changing rooms, washrooms, showers or other similar facilities, with the exception of the use of toilets;
    • while ensuring increased hygiene measures, in particular disinfection of hands and places that normally touch the hands.
  • At the same time, from 20 April, 2020, participation in training of athletes for whom sport is a gainful activity is permitted, while observing, for example, the following rules:
    • there are a maximum of 100 persons at the same time on the sports ground,
    • the distance between athletes and other persons must be at least 2 meters,
    • athletes are not required to wear respiratory protection during training or match,
    • the related indoor areas of the sports ground are not used (cloakrooms, showers),
    • after finishing the training, it is necessary to carry out regular disinfection of all used training aids.
  • From 27 April 2020, the presence of the public in establishments providing services in the form of leisure and educational activities, especially sports grounds, gyms, wellness facilities, swimming pools, swimming pools and other entertainment facilities, is permitted. The following rules must be observed:

    • ensure that the spacing between clients is at least 2 meters and that there is a maximum of 1 client for every 10 m2,
    • changing rooms and showers cannot be used,
    • respiratory protection must be worn at all times,
    • obligatorily disinfect hands,
    • sell only packaged food and water,
    • group lessons can be attended by a maximum of 8 trainers and 1 coach,
    • rooms must be cleaned and disinfected between lessons.
  • Theaters or cinemas can resume their operations from 11. 5. 2020, but must comply with the following rules:

    • there is a maximum of 100 spectators in the auditorium, where spectators can only sit in every second row and in one row, always with one seat;
    • in many people waiting for ticket sales, intervals of at least 2 meters are required between customers;
    • disinfectants are available at the entrance and toilets;
    • the sale of food or beverages is prohibited;
    • before each individual performance, the entire space is intended for spectators disinfected.

10. International transport

  • With effect from 14 March 2020 at 00:00, the transport of passengers across the borders of the Czech Republic is prohibited.
  • The measure applies to carriers operating international road passenger transport, provided by vehicles with a capacity of over 9 persons, international rail passenger transport, and cross-border inland waterway passenger transport.
  • All carriers are obliged to use only Václav Havel International Airport when engaging in commercial air transport that crosses the Czech border with passengers on board.
  • The measure allows for the return of citizens of the Czech Republic or persons with permanent or temporary residence over 90 days in the Czech Republic. Likewise, foreign nationals are allowed to leave the Czech Republic.

11. Spreading the coronavirus – a crime

The Ministry of Justice has included COVID-19 on the list of infectious diseases whose spread (even through negligence) can be considered a criminal offence, according to Sections 152 or 153 of the Criminal Code.

Preventive measures

The best way of combating SARS-CoV-2, causing COVID-19, continues to be general preventive recommendations, in particular regular hand washing, covering the mouth when coughing, keeping tabs on the movement of employees and not underestimating symptoms. Namely the spread can be prevented by wearing protective covers of mouth and nose in form of respirators or simple scarfs. You can find a summary of our preventive recommendations HERE.

How to protect employees' health

The employer must assess work-related risks and take measures to eliminate or minimise them. This includes the risk of infection with coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. The measures must be adapted to the specific conditions of the employer. Coronavirus is transmitted in the same way as influenza. Preventive measures are therefore very similar in both cases. Although the illness caused by coronavirus may have a complicated course, most infected patients develop only mild symptoms.

Preventive measures for employers may include:

  • Awareness among employees – warning of the need for regular hand washing with warm water and soap, recommendation of the right technique for washing hands and for covering the mouth when coughing. Tips about proper hand washing techniques can be found HERE.
  • Reduce face-to-face meetings and prioritise talks and meetings by video / teleconferencing, possibly outside the employer's premises.
  • Limit business trips and large conferences, especially abroad.
  • Consider more frequent cleaning of the premises or cleaning them with disinfectants and the provision of disinfectants on the employer's premises (gels, computer wipes, etc.). It may be appropriate to place disinfectants in a way that makes it difficult for them to be "removed" by employees for home use.
  • Provide protective equipment (respirators, face masks) to employees immediately at risk of infection. These typically are warehouse workers in contact with international lorry transports, receptionists in hotels, etc. At present there is no reason for food workers, waiters or factory workers to wear respirators. It is worth remembering that washing hands is more important than respirators for protection against infection. The respirator only protects when it is properly attached, removed and disposed of after use.
  • Wearing drapes or lower category respirators may also be helpful to protect at least droplets from spreading.
  • Restrict the movement of third parties in the employer's premises to reserved places or ban the entry of third parties altogether.
  • Allow employees to work from home when possible.
  • Keep a distance of at least 2 meters where possible.
  • Prefer cashless payments.

Employers should regularly inform their employees of the measures taken and planned, and update the contact details of the employees and persons to be contacted in case of questions regarding coronavirus.

Monitoring the private lives of employees

Employees may be required to provide information on the risks associated with coronavirus, such as whether they have not been abroad or have met an infected person. On the other hand, it may be difficult to punish employees for a false or incomplete answer.

Practically we advise employees to notify their employer if they have been abroad and of the obligation to contact their attending physician in case of symptoms of an infectious disease, as well as the possible consequences that concealing the journey to abroad may have, including compensation of damages, labour law and misdemeanour offences, and in extreme cases, criminal liability.

Likewise, the employer has the right to strongly advise employees not to travel privately to foreign countries. But it cannot forbid private trips altogether.

As of now, it is no longer possible to leave the territory of Czech Republic, excluding special cases. (more in Foreign travel and entry of foreign nationals).

Testing employees for coronavirus

The employer cannot enforce coronavirus testing. At present, these tests are performed only by decision of a doctor. While some healthcare facilities offer unofficial tests for reimbursement, they are not considered conclusive by the authorities at this time.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs recommends in a press release HERE that employers establish fitness to work through extra occupational medical examinations. However, we recommend that you consult your service provider beforehand.

What to do with an employee suspected of being infected?

If the employer is worried that the employee may be infected, we recommend agreeing (by telephone) with the employee that they report their health condition to the relevant regional public health station. They will decide on the need to perform a coronavirus test and to possibly order quarantine.

If the employee refuses to cooperate in this respect, the employer can inform the relevant hygiene centre, and they will try to contact the employee directly.

Employee has been quarantined

If an employee has been quarantined by a public health authority (the relevant regional public health office or even an attending physician), this constitutes an obstacle to work for which the employee is entitled to wage compensation as in the case of normal incapacity for work. This means that the employee is entitled to wage compensation of 60% of the average earnings (calculated from the reduced basis under the Labour Code) for the first 14 days of quarantine and from the 15th day will receive sickness benefit from the sickness insurance system.

The employee is obliged to inform the employer of the quarantine order without undue delay and to document the obstacle to work.

If the employee was diagnosed with COVID-19, the employer must inform all other employees by suitable means. Details about specific person are provided only in scope necessary for protection of health and in such way, that causes no harm to dignity and integrity of such person. Specific details should only be provided to affected colleagues.

We suspect that the employee was infected, but he or she was not quarantined

There may be a case where the employee can observe symptoms of COVID-19, but the disease has not been confirmed by the doctor, the employee has not been quarantined or is not incapacitated for work.

However, as a precautionary measure and as a result of compliance with the precautionary obligation, the employer may endeavor not to keep the employee in the workplace, even though the employee insists on performing the work.

The conclusion whether this is an obstacle on the part of the employer or the employee is not unequivocal, however, we are inclined to the opinion that it is an obstacle in the performance of work on the part of the employee, for which he will not be entitled to compensation, because the employee is not fully able performance of work.

However, in this situation, we recommend that you agree with the employee on another, alternative job, such as:

  • Home office agreement – an option subject to the consent of the employee, if the nature of the work permits.
  • Send employees home due to "obstacles" – possible even without the employee's consent; the employer has to pay wage compensation equal to the average earnings.
  • Compensatory time off – if the employee has worked overtime, the employer may order them to use compensatory time off.
  • Unpaid leave – at the request of the employee, the employer may allow him/her to take unpaid leave.
  • Holiday – the possibility of taking a holiday, even without his/her consent; however, holiday must be ordered 14 days in advance, unless a shorter period has been agreed.
  • Cancellation of planned shifts – the possibility to modify the employee's shift schedule, even without his/her consent; however, the shift schedule must be set 14 days in advance, unless a shorter deadline has been agreed.

The employee refuses to come to work

The Labour Code gives the employee the right to refuse to perform dangerous work. However, the refused work must directly and seriously endanger the employee's life or health, or the life or health of others. The refusal test is thus very strict and will not be fulfilled by the average employee at this point in case of concern about coronavirus infection.

Generally, in such cases, we recommend hearing the employee's concerns and working together to find a solution that will meet their needs. This may include the possibility of working from home, taking leave or providing unpaid leave. Should an employee still refuse to come to work, this is an unexcused absence for which the employee may be penalised.

Of course, there may be more complicated cases that need to be assessed individually (persons with compromised immune system, difficulty breathing, heart disease, diabetes, pregnancy, etc.).

Public transport outage

In the event of an unforeseen outage of public transport, an employee who could not get to the workplace on time has the right to leave without pay.

Children's school closed

The law also explicitly provides for situations where an employee needs to take care of their own child instead of working. It explicitly regulates, for example:

  • closure of the school the child normally attends due to anti-epidemiological measures;
  • quarantine order for a child;
  • quarantine of the person who otherwise takes care of the child.

In such a case, the employer must excuse the employee (parent or person living with the child in a common household) from work and the employee has the right to a care benefit (sickness insurance benefit). The amount of the care benefit per calendar day is 80% of the daily assessment base.

On the basis of a special law, the nursing allowance was increased retroactively from 1.4.2020. At the same time, the right to receive nursing allowance was extended to parents working on an agreement to perform work or work activities.

On 26 March 2020, a new law came into effect on the basis of which parents can receive care benefit for the entire period of time during which schools would remain closed as a result of anti-epidemic measures. At the same time, the benefit care is also available for the care of a child under the age of 13 years. Therefore, the age limit of the child was increased from the original 10 years.

The government extended the right to receive the care benefit to self-employed persons. These persons will then be able to apply for a care benefit contribution at the Ministry of Industry and Trade for the care of a child for which no other person will receive a compensatory contribution. Self-employed persons are entitled to a care benefit of CZK 500 per day.

The employee applies for the entitlement to the care benefit due to the closure of the school by means of the application form Application for care benefit for children due to the closure of an educational institution (school), which will be issued in two copies by the school that the child attends. The employee shall complete part B of the form and forward it immediately to the employer, who shall then hand over the documents for payment of the allowance to the relevant District Social Security Administration.

Employee Exchange - temporary assignment

The solution to a situation where the employer does not have a job for their employees may be to conclude a written agreement with his employee on a temporary assignment of the employee to another employer. Such an agreement may be concluded no earlier than 6 months after the date of employment.

During the period of temporary assignment, the employee shall be paid by the employer who has temporarily assigned the employee to another employer.

No remuneration shall be granted for the temporary assignment of employees. This means that the employer to whom the employee has been assigned must not pay remuneration for the assignment of the employee to the employer who provided him with their employee. They can only reimburse them for the 'employee costs' of the employee they have allocated to them - that is, to reimburse them for the wages paid or travel expenses.

Closure of establishment

If the establishment is closed due to anti-epidemiological measures, the situation will be assessed as in the case of a quarantine order (i.e. the employer will pay "sickness benefit" to employees for the first 14 days and the state will pay from day 15). The same applies if the employee cannot come to work because there is a quarantine at the municipality in which the place of work is located.

If the establishment is closed for other reasons, employees will usually be entitled to compensation of 100% of their wages. The employer may consider using options to reduce the financial impact, such as ordering leave, taking compensatory leave or rescheduling shifts.

In the event of a shortage of supply of raw materials, power or similar operational reasons, this will constitute downtime with compensation of 80 % of average earnings.

Wage compensation can even fall to 60 % of earnings. This can happen if the employer is unable to allocate work to the employee in the amount of a week's working hours due to a reduction in the sales of products or demand for employer services. (In order to do so, the employer must issue an internal regulation or, if the employer has a trade union, it must enter into an agreement with the trade union). It is now practical to approach this in order to reduce wage compensation to 60% of average earnings and wait for the legislative situation to evolve. The final decision on how much wage compensation will be can be postponed until the monthly wages are processed.

The government approved the granting of employers' contribution to wage compensation in the event of a reduction in the sales of products or a reduction in demand for employer services, the so-called Kurzarbeit (see below the Antivirus Employment Protection Program - Mode B).

Establishments closed by government decision in an emergency situation are currently prohibited from selling. Other activities may continue in the establishment (cleaning, inventory, construction work). In addition, the company has the right to transfer employees without their consent to other work necessary to avert an extraordinary event. According to a statement from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, employees for whom there is no work for this reason (who are facing "obstacles" to work) are entitled to 100% of their average earnings. However, this conclusion is not unambiguous and, in our opinion, it is possible to consider such a situation as a reduction in demand for services or an anti-epidemiological measure. The state will contribute to wage compensation for employers (see “Antivirus Employment Protection Programme” below Mode A).

Antivirus Employment Protection Programme and support for self-employed

On 31 March 2020 the Czech government approved the Antivirus Programme, which should help employers manage the current situation better and prevent possible dismissal of employees. The Labour Office will provide employers with a full employment or partial unemployment allowance. These are entrepreneurs affected by the spread of the COVID-19 disease. Employers should be compensated for the wages, which continue to be paid to their employees, by a contribution.

The program was launched on 6 April 2020 and deals with the following situations:

Mode A - Forced operation restriction and quarantine

  • For an employee who has been quarantined, (employer pays his wage compensation of 60% of the average reduced earnings for the first 14 days) the employer will receive a state contribution of 80% of the paid wage compensation, including taxes.
  • Employees who cannot be assigned work due to closure of the establishment on the basis of a government order are entitled to a 100% wage compensation, while the employer will again receive a state contribution of 80% of the paid salary, including taxes.
  • The contribution per employee in Mode A will not exceed CZK 39,000.

Mode B - Related economic difficulties (obstacles on the part of the employer due to the spread of coronavirus)

  • If the employer is unable to allocate work to a larger number of employees due to quarantine or childcare, the wage compensation paid to the employees will be 100%.
  • If the employer is unable to allocate work due to unavailability of raw materials, products or services that are necessary for its activity, it is obliged to pay compensation of min. 80% of wages.
  • If the employer is unable to allocate work due to a reduction in demand for services, manufactured goods or other products, employees will still be entitled to a wage compensation of at least 60% (see Closing the establishment above).
  • In these cases, the employer will be able to apply for a contribution of 60% of the paid wage compensation, including taxes, while the amount of the contribution per employee should again be limited to the amount of CZK 29,000.

The employer will only be eligible for Antivirus Programme contributions if the following conditions are met:

  • it is an employer who strictly adheres to the Labour Code;
  • the employee for whom the employer wishes to draw the contribution must not be in a notice period and must not be given a dismissal notice at the time of the wage billing (exceptions to the notice given under Section 52 (g) and (h) of the Labour Code);
  • the employer is a company in the business sphere and the employees are in a main employment relationship and participate in sickness and pension insurance (the contribution cannot be drawn for DPP and DPČ employees);
  • the employer is not in liquidation or bankruptcy;
  • the decision to impose a fine on employers for enabling illegal work has not become final in the previous 3 years;
  • the employer will not for the same purpose, i.e. the part of wage compensation that will be paid from the contribution of the Labor Office of the Czech Republic, claim coverage from funds provided from the state budget, EU programs and projects, or other public sources.
  • the employer duly pays the salary and taxes.

Self-employed persons will also receive support. These persons are particularly affected by the drop in sales, which occurred almost immediately after the introduction of crisis measures, even if they do not have a direct ban on activities.

On 27 March 2020, a law came into force on the basis of which all self-employed will be forgiven mandatory minimum payments of advances for health insurance, pension insurance premiums and contribution to the state employment policy, for a period of 6 months. Specifically, this will be the period from March to August 2020. For self-employed persons who have already paid their advances for the period of March 2020, these payments will be treated as a prepayment for September.

Self-employed persons, who pay more than the minimum amount on advances, still do not have to pay any advances in the period from March to August. In the annual accounts, they only pay back the difference between the minimum advance and the actual amount of premiums according to their 2020 profit.

At the same time, on 14 April 2020 the law became effective on the basis of which the self-employed can receive a compensation bonus in the total amount of CZK 25,000 for the time period from 12 March to 30 August 2020.

Conditions for qualifying for the compensation bonus:

  • the claimant is a person who was as of 12 March 2020 pursuing the trade as his main business activity or a person who was receiving pension or parental allowance and at the same time was  pursuing the trade as his secondary business activity;
  • self-employed persons were unable to carry on their business, either directly or indirectly, in whole or in part as a result of crisis measures (e.g. closure of establishment, quarantine, duty of child care, restriction of demand for products / services, restriction or termination of supply).

The bill regulating the compensation bonus for self-employed persons has already been approved by the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate will deal with the bill in the coming days.

On the basis of the amendment to the Act, a subsequent period was determined from 1.5.2020 to 8.6.2020, for which self-employed persons can receive a compensatory bonus in the total amount of CZK 19,500.

Newly hired employees

Following the Government Decree of 15 March 2020, a health certificate or assessment of the fitness of newly hired employees may be replaced by an affidavit for the duration of the state of emergency.

At the same time, it is not necessary to perform periodic medical examinations for employees during the emergency period.

All work permits, residence permits and visas issued by 15 March 2020 to persons in an employment relationship with employers providing services under an agency employment agreement shall be extended for a period of 60 days after the end of the state of emergency.

End of quarantine - Return of employees to work

The spread of COVID-19 is in decline, so the Czech government is gradually canceling and modifying the issued crisis measures. Shops and service providers can now reopen their premises, so people can return to work. At the same time, employees who have previously worked from home may be encouraged by their employer to return to the standard workplace. What should an employer do and how can he hire an employee to return to work?

Employers should first prepare a so-called business restarting plan, in which they will deal with the gradual return of employees to work and at the same time perform an analysis of all risks associated with the return and save evidence that this analysis has actually taken place.

The employer is still generally obliged to comply with the requirements concerning safety and health at work, which is all the more true as a result of the current situation. It should therefore assess all the risks associated with the performance of the work in question and take appropriate measures to that end, in particular in the form of:

  • informing employees (and possibly trade unions) about the current situation, the need for prevention of infection (eg increased compliance with hand hygiene) and about newly adopted measures;
  • consider the need to travel abroad and meet in person with business partners, and to make maximum use of distance communication;
  • prevent the gathering of customers and employees (eg in the elevator, when boarding shifts, in changing rooms);
  • require customer spacing of at least 2 meters (compliance with staff spacing is not explicitly required, but can also be recommended);
  • place disinfectants for employees and customers close to busy places (handles, railings) and often ventilate;
  • order employees to wear gloves when contacting goods or receiving payments from customers, and provide them with them;
  • instruct employees with COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, loss of taste and smell, etc.) not to come to the workplace;
  • check the safety of the machines used and the possible expiry of the inspection certificates;
  • re-carry out basic safety and health training if employees have not been at work for a long time.

In the case of employers who have decided to use foreigners for work longer than 72 hours, they are obliged to provide accommodation for these workers throughout their stay in the Czech Republic, medical care, transport from the border to the place of accommodation and then to work and back. (and may not use public transport or taxis), as well as any return to the country of origin.

What can an employer do with an employee at a home office or receiving a nursing home who does not want to return to work?

To enable the home office, it was necessary for the employee and the employer to agree on work from home. The employee can thus be called back to the standard workplace at any time. The employer is entitled to inform the employee, for example, only by e-mail, so that he can come to his usual workplace, while the employee is obliged to comply with the employer. Otherwise, it may be an unexcused absence of the employee.

Unfortunately, it is not so easy with an employee receiving nursing care. Taking time off and receiving a childcare allowance is an employee's right. Therefore, if the employee meets the set conditions, the employer cannot in any way force him to return to work or punish him in any way.

Even in the current situation, where schools are gradually opening up and parents can send their children back to school, the employer cannot force his employees to return to work. School attendance is only voluntary and a parent who decides to keep his child at home is still entitled to nursing allowance.

Damages

According to the Crisis Act, the State is responsible for damages caused by crisis measures. More information concerning this topic can be found HERE.

In conclusion

Nevertheless, the epidemiological situation may develop rapidly. Employers are advised to keep a cool head and follow the websites of Czech state authorities such as the Government of the Czech Republic,  the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of the Interior, the State Health Institute and the ECDC.

In the event of an emergency situation related to coronavirus, we recommend that further steps and measures be resolved promptly in accordance with our recommendations, and in particular in cooperation with the employee concerned, his/her attending physician and the competent hygiene authority. Only with the participation of these actors will it be possible to effectively prevent the further spread of the epidemic while ensuring the operation of the company.

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