Global menu

Our global pages

Close

Coronavirus – a practical guide for employers in the Czech Republic

  • Czech Republic

    23-09-2020

    We are continually updating this guide in response to the gradual publication of official information by public authorities. Latest update: 23 September 2020, 9:00 AM (Wearing masks, Foreign travel and entry of foreign nationals, Mandatory quarantine, Retail sale and services).

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

    Česká verze k přečtění  ZDE.

    Emergency measures of the Czech Republic

    In connection with the development of the epidemiological situation in the occurrence of coronavirus in Europe, restrictions below still exist. at present.

    As the epidemiological situation is different in different regions of the Czech Republic, certain extraordinary measures may occur only in certain areas, or the measures may differ in individual areas.

    1. Wearing masks

    • From 10 September 2020, it is obligatory in the Czech Republic to wear respiratory protective equipment (mouth and nose) such as a respirator, drape, mouthpiece or any scarf, shawl or other device that can help prevent the spread of droplets, namely:

    • in all interior spaces of buildings, outside their place of residence, or place of accommodation;
    • in means of public transport.

    • From the above obligation are exempted for exemple:

    • children up to two years of age;
    • children, students and pedagogical staff in classroom education;
      • This exemption will be abolished for pupils in the second stage of primary schools, secondary schools and universities from 21 September 2020, and they are therefore obliged to wear masks even during classes.
    • persons with intellectual disorder, autism spectrum disorder or cognitive or mental disorder;
    • patients if they are hospitalized in inpatient health care facilities and if this is necessary for the provision of health services;
    • employees and persons in a similar position performing work in one place, if these persons are at least 2 meters apart;
    • the parties to the proceedings, at the place and time of the proceedings;
    • persons performing work classified in the third or fourth risk category of the conditions;
    • customers at the time of food consumption;
    • athletes during training or competitions;
    • persons in the interiors of swimming pools, aquaparks or saunas;
    • 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.

    2. Foreign travel and entry of foreign nationals

    • Currently, the Ministry of Health keeps a list of countries with a low risk of infection (green countries). All other countries not on the list are considered to be at high risk of infection (red countries).

    • With regard to whether the countries are green or red, persons (citizens of the Czech Republic and foreigners) entering the territory of the Czech Republic from these countries have different obligations and also the possibilities of entering the Czech Republic.

    • Citizens of the Czech Republic and EU citizens (including citizens of Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the United Kingdom).

    • Certain obligations for these passengers will only arise if they have resided in some of the red countries for more than 12 hours in the last 14 days. These persons are obliged to contact the regional hygienic station upon entry and:
      • take a test on the territory of the Czech Republic and submit the test result to the regional hygienic station within 72 hours of entry (test can be taken even in another member state of the EU);
      • otherwise these persons will be quarantined.
    • Other obligations have, for example, international transport staff. If they have stayed in any of the red countries for more than 12 hours in the last 14 days, these persons are then obliged to wear respiratory protective equipment everywhere in the Czech Republic for 14 days. At the same time, they are obliged to submit a certificate for an international transport worker when crossing the border.
    • One exception applies to citizens of France, Malta, Romania and Luxembourg, traveling or returning to the Czech Republic from these countries for work or teaching, where employers and educational institutions are obliged to request a negative test result, which these persons take in the Czech Republic, otherwise not allow them to enter the territory of the workplace or educational institution.
      • These people are then obliged to take a second test after 14 days, at their own expense.

    • Third country nationals

    • If third-country nationals (outside the EU and Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the United Kingdom) or their family members hold residence permits issued by the Czech Republic, they will be allowed to enter our territory under the same conditions as above.
    • Entry is also allowed for workers of interstate transport or diplomats.

    • From 21 September 2020 all persons, that stayed in a red country for more than 12 hours in last 14 days must fill electronic arrival form before their arrival in Czech Republic and present it during while crossing the border.

    • These persons have an obligation to undertake a test within 5 days from entering. The test results must be presented within 7 days from entering, otherwise these persons will be subjected to quarantine.

    • What are the possibilities of entry of Czech citizens into the territory of foreign states always depends on the specific conditions of the given country.

    • E.g. Slovakia has included the Czech Republic among the high-risk countries, and therefore for this reason Czech citizens (including Slovaks) must submit a negative test result for COVID-19 or undergo quarantine (and be tested within the quarantine) on their way to Slovakia.
    • Other countries that somehow limit the entry of Czech citizens into their territory are, for example, Germany, Belgium, Greece, Slovenia, Ireland, Norway, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Switzerland, Serbia or the United Kingdom.

    3. Mandatory quarantine

    • Quarantine is newly ordered for a period of 10 days.

    • From 1 September 2020, all providers of health services in the field of general practice are required to order quarantine

    • to all persons with a positive result of the RT-PCR test, when the quarantine will be terminated only in persons who do not show clinical signs of COVID-19 disease, even without performing an RT-PCR test;
      • only for health and social care workers, the quarantine is terminated on the basis of a negative test result
    • to persons who have been in close contact with a positive person, only in situations where this contact has taken place without drapes over the mouth and nose (except for contact of less than 15 minutes or more than 1.5 meters).
    • to all persons which did not present RT-PCR test result to regional hygienic station within 7 days of entering Czech Republic.

    • In the event that a person who has been ordered to quarantine occurs in one household, the quarantine is not automatically ordered for the whole household and all its members. In this case, it is recommended:

    • limit as much as possible both contact with the quarantined person and contact with the public;
    • the quarantined person should use their own towels and other personal items;
    • disinfect common areas.

    • Another situation occurs when there is a person with a positive test result in the household. In this case, all members of the household are persons who have been in close contact with a positive person and everyone will be quarantined.

    • Persons who are forced to undergo quarantine as a result of travel are restricted to free movement within the territory of the Czech Republic, with the exception of providing basic necessities of life, providing care for children and animals, trips to medical facilities and trips to work.

    • Third-country nationals (outside the EU and Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the United Kingdom) are also limited in their quarantine opportunities to travel to work.

    4. Reopening of schools

    • At the beginning of the school year, all school and educational facilities opened.

    • The Ministry of Education has issued a Manual for the Operation of Schools and School Facilities, in which it informs school leaders about their responsibilities and advises them on how to deal with certain coronavirus-related situations.

    • The whole manual contains a lot of only recommending sections, so it mainly depends on the assessment of the specific situation in the given school facility or on the manager, what action will be enforced by the staff and pupils.

    • Obligation is introduced from 21 September 2020 for pupils in the second stage of primary schools, secondary schools and universities to wear masks even during classes.

    5. Ban on public and private events

    • From 1 September 2020 until further notice only cultural, sports, religious and similar events and other gatherings indoors can take place with a maximum participation of 500 people at the same time, both public and private and if the event is held mainly outdoors, with a maximum participation of 1000 people at the same time, both public and private.

    • A distance of 2 m must be maintained between the participants of the events and the performers.

    • 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;
    • an assembly held in accordance with the Act on the Right of Assembly;
    • collective events in the interiors of structurally divided areas, if the interiors are organizationally divided into sectors with a maximum capacity of 500 people, where each sector has its own entrance to the outside or the entrances to the sectors are time-regulated;
    • for mass events in the outdoor areas of structurally divided areas, if the premises are organizationally divided into sectors with a maximum capacity of 1000 people, where each sector has its own entrance or the entrances to the sectors are time-regulated.

    • From 18 September 2020, mass events held mainly indoors, with the exception of exhibitions, markets, fairs and similar events, with participation exceeding 10 people at the same time are prohibited, unless each participant has a designated meeting place.

    • The organizer of mass events is obliged to record in writing the total number of seats for participants in the event.

    6. Retail and services

    • At present, shops and service providers of all kinds can be opened.

    • However, store and service operators must still comply with the following measures:

    • encourage customers with information materials to maintain a distance of 2 meters and to make ideally a payment card payment;
    • place disinfectants and protective equipment on frequently touched objects (handles, railings, shopping carts), both for employees and customers;
    • actively prevent crowding.

    • Other rules, that operators must follow are linked to the specifications of the service, e.g.:

    • food retail operators are required to provide customers with disposable gloves or similar hand protection free of charge;
    • it is possible to test the products in clothing and footwear stores, but only after prior disinfection of the examiner's hands and products returned within the complaint must be stored separately from other goods for the next 24 hours;
    • customers in catering facilities are encouraged by informative materials to keep a distance of 2 meters and to pay the best with a payment card;
    • shopping centres with areas exceeding 5.000 m2 must provide at least one person to supervise compliance with hygienic rules;
    • bars and restaurants must be closed between midnight and six o'clock in the morning.
      • Fast foods with dispensing window are exempt from this obligation.

    Behavior of employees in the workplace and obligations of the employer

    All indications are that the spread of covid-19 is entering the second wave, which may be worse in terms of infectivity than the first in the spring. Although all shops and services may be open and the government cannot be expected to take drastic measures again as in the spring, people in the workplace need to be considerate of each other and to observe the following rules. The best service in the fight against the coronavirus will still be given by general preventive recommendations, i.e. especially hand washing, covering the mouth with a cough and not underestimating the symptoms. In particular, regular wearing of mouth and nose covers in the form of drapes, respirators or scarves, especially indoors, can help prevent the spread of the disease.

    Employers should constantly monitor the situation regarding the development of the coronavirus epidemic and adapt their work activities accordingly.

    The employer is still generally obliged to comply with the requirements relating to safety and health at work. 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 against infection (e.g. 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 (e.g. in the elevator, when boarding shifts, in changing rooms);

    • require customer spacing of at least 2 meters (compliance with staff spacing 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;

    • if possible, allow employees to work from home.

    In the case of employers who have decided to employ employees who have arrived from France, Malta, Romania or Luxembourg, they are obliged to request from the employee a negative result of the test that the employee takes in the Czech Republic, otherwise they must not allow these persons to enter the workplace.

    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 countries with a high risk of infection. But it cannot forbid private trips altogether.

    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.

    In the event that the regional hygienic station decides that there is no need to test the employee, the employee can come to one of the collection points himself and have himself tested at his own expense. However, the employer cannot compel the employee to do so.There may be a case where the symptoms of COVID-19 can be seen in the employee, but the disease has not been confirmed by a doctor. However, as a precautionary measure and as a result of compliance with the precautionary obligation, the employer may endeavour not to keep the employee in the workplace, even if the employee insists on performing the work.

    The conclusion as to whether this is an obstacle on the part of the employer or the employee is not clear, however, we are of the opinion that in most cases it will be an obstacle in the performance of work on the part of the employee, for which he will not be entitled to compensation. the employee is not fully capable of performing work.

    In this situation, we recommend that you agree with the employee on another, alternative performance of work, e.g.:

    Work agreement from home - an option conditional on the employee's consent, if the nature of the work allows it.

    Send employees "for obstacles" - the possibility even without the employee's consent, the employer must pay compensation of wages in the amount of average earnings.

    Compensatory leave - if the employee has worked overtime, the employer may order him to take it.

    Unpaid leave - based on the employee's request, the employer can allow him to take unpaid leave.

    Leave - the possibility to order an employee a leave, even without his consent; however, leave must be ordered 14 days in advance, unless a shorter period has been agreed.

    Cancellation of planned shifts - the possibility for employees to modify the shift schedule, even without their consent; however, the shift schedule must be set 14 days in advance, unless a shorter period has been agreed.

    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.

    The employee is afraid 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.).

    School opening - nursing and return to work

    If a school facility becomes an outbreak, it is likely that the school will have to close for some time, and again it will be necessary to deal with the problem of nursing and the need for parents to look after their children. At the same time, it is necessary to think about the situation when the child himself will be infected and the parent will have to stay at home with him.

    Legislation that addressed this issue in last year's school year can no longer be applied, as it was applicable only until 30 June 2020.

    At present, therefore, the general regulation of nursing allowance regulated by the Sickness Insurance Act applies again. A parent who takes care of a child under the age of 10 in the event of illness or closure of a school facility is entitled to a nursing allowance of 60% of the daily assessment basis, but only for a period of 9 days. A single parent is entitled to nursing allowance for 16 days.

    However, the government has currently proposed a new bill that should regulate the rules of coronavirus-related nursing allowance in this school year and build on previous regulation. The employee should be therefore entitled to nursing allowance (benefit from the health insurance system) in the amount of 60% of the daily assessment basis and the employer is obliged to apologize for his absence from work for the purpose of caring for a child up to the age of 13 for the entire duration of the closure of the school facility or the child's obligation to remain in quarantine.

    This bill extends the right to nursing allowance to persons working on the basis of an agreement to perform work or an agreement to complete a job.

    Parents will not be entitled to nursing allowance for the period of any school holidays and days off announced by the school principal during the school year.

    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.

    Antivirus Employment Protection Programme

    At present, employers still have the opportunity to apply for a full or partial employment allowance from the Antivirus program, which includes two schemes:

    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 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 is maximum of 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%.

    • 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 is limited to the amount of CZK 29,000.

    It will be possible to apply for an allowance under mode A or mode B only until 31. 10. 2020.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full terms and conditions on our website.

    < Go back