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Coronavirus – a practical guide for employers in the Czech Republic

  • Czech Republic


    We are continually updating this guide in response to the gradual publication of official information by public authorities. Latest update: 13 October 2021 (Public events, Travel, Retail, Testing of employees).

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

    Česká verze k přečtění  ZDE.

    Emergency measures in the Czech Republic

    Although there is no longer a state of emergency in the Czech Republic, it is still necessary to follow the following emergency measures.

    Although the developement of the COVID-19 epidemic in the Czech Republic is still favourable, it is necessary to continue to observe the established emergency measures to prevent the situation from deterioration.

    1. Wearing masks

    • All persons in the Czech Republic must wear respiratory protective equipment (mouth and nose) such as a respirator without breathing ventilation (FFP2, KN 95) namely:

    • in all interior spaces of buildings, outside their place of residence, or place of accommodation;
    • in means of public transport;
    • when attending a public or private event where there is an accumulation of more than 10 people in one place at the same time;

    • Employers are obliged to equip their employees with adequate respiratory protective equipment in sufficient numbers for each work shift.

    • From obligation to wear respiratory protective equipment is exempted e.g.

    • children that have yet to begin school;
    • children and teaching staff in classes;
    • pupils and teachers in the first stage of primary schools in school buildings;
    • accommodated children, pupils or students during stays in boarding schools and youth home;

    • school facilities for constitutional or protective upbringing;

    • schools established by Ministry of Justice;

    • persons with intellectual disorders, 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;
    • persons in the course of work at the workplace or in the course of other similar activities while carrying out that activity in one place without another person being present (customer, client, business partner);
    • the parties to the court proceedings, at the place and time of the court proceedings;
    • moderators, actors, or other persons when performing an author's work (e.g. a theater or dance performance);
    • persons performing work classified in the third or fourth category of the risk conditions;
    • customers during food consumption;
    • athletes during training or competitions or exercising persons;
    • persons in the interiors of swimming pools, aquaparks or saunas;
    • public transport drivers, if they are separated by themselves from the rest of the space in an enclosed cabin;
    • fiancés and others during the marriage ceremony and when declaring to join a registered partnership;

    • persons providing services in areas of head and neck (cosmetic services).

    2. Foreign travel and entry of foreign nationals

    • Currently, the Ministry of Health publishes a list of countries according to which some countries are divided into low, medium, high and very high risk countries.

    • Countries are divided into 5 categories: green countries (low risk) and orange countries (medium risk), red countries (high risk), dark red countries (very high risk) and black countries (extreme risk).

    • Persons who have stayed abroad for more than 12 hours in the last 14 days must:

    • fill in an electronic arrival form before entering Czech territory and hand in such form when crossing borders
    • subject to self-isolation after arrival until a negative test result is undergone (if required).

    • Travellers must undergo other obligations depending on whether they are Czech citizens / persons with permanent residence or third-country nationals or whether they have arrived by public or individual transport:

    • Persons travelling from the green and orange countries are obliged to pass an antigen test (not older than 48 hours) or PCR test (not older than 72 hours) before entering the Czech Republic or no later than five days after arrival.
    • Persons travelling from the red countries are obliged to have a written confirmation of a negative result of an PCR test (not older than 72 hours) before entering the Czech Republic. These persons are then obliged to take a PCR test on the territory of the Czech Republic after no sooner than 5 days of entry and no later than 14 days after entry.
      • A Czech citizen/resident travelling by individual transport does not need to be tested before entering the Czech Republic; for these persons travelling by public transport, an antigen test is sufficient.
    • Persons travelling from the dark red countries are obliged to have a written confirmation of a negative result of an antigen or PCR test before entering the Czech Republic (the test must not be older than 48 hours). These persons are then obliged to take a PCR test on the territory of the Czech Republic within 5 days of entry and no later than 14 days after entry. The test result must be submitted to the Regional hygienic station (KHS).
      • A citizen of Czech Republic / persons with permanent residence travelling through individual means is not obliged to undertake test before entering Czech territory, antigen test is sufficient for persons travelling through public transport.

    • Persons travelling from black countries are required to have a written confirmation of a negative PCR test result (the test must not be older than 72 hours) and afterwards undergo two PCR tests (first one within 24 hours of arrival and the second one not earlier than the 10th day after arrival).

    • From a citizen of the Czech Republic / persons with permanent residence submission of a negative antigen test result (not older than 48 hours) suffices.

    • Currently, the Czech Republic does not classify any country as so-called black country.

    • Only following persons are exempted from the above-mentioned obligations (does not apply to black countries):

    • International transport workers;
    • EU citizens or foreigners with a long-term stay in the EU who transit within 12 hours through the Czech Republic;
    • Members of diplomatic missions;
    • Persons under 6 years of age;
    • Professional athletes who have been permitted to participate in a sporting event;
    • Travellers to or from the neighbouring countries (Germany, Austria, Poland, Slovakia) for less than 24 hours when travelling by land);
    • Cross-border workers, pupils and students;
    • Citizens of the Czech Republic who have demonstrably suffered from COVID-19 in the last 180 days;
    • Persons with a certificate of completion of vaccination issued by the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic (14 days after the last dose).

    • Persons traveling or returning to the Czech Republic for the purpose of work or teaching are subsequently obliged to submit to their employer or educational institution a negative test result, which these persons take in the Czech Republic, otherwise they will not be allowed to enter the workplace or educational institution.

    • Information on trvael with clear overview can be found HERE.

    3. Mandatory quarantine

    • Quarantine is ordered for the period of 14 days.

    • 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 the quarantine will be terminated only in case of persons who do not show clinical signs of the COVID-19 disease, even without performing an RT-PCR test or POC antigen test;
      • only in case of health and social care workers, the quarantine will be terminated on the basis of a negative test result;
      • in case of persons showing clinical symptoms, the quarantine will last for the entire period of occurrence of these symptoms and will end in 3 days, the person will not show symptoms and will be terminated even without performing an RT-PCR test.
    • to all persons who, on the basis of the epidemiological inquiry, have been identified as having been in close contact with a positively tested person, for a period of 14 days from the date of the last contact with the positive person;
    • A person who has been ordered to undergo quarantine measures shall undergo a PCR test between 5 and 7 days after the last contact with a positive tested person, but no later than day 10; a person who shares a household with a positive tested person and cannot comply with the isolation conditions shall undergo a PCR test between 5 and 7 days after the first positive result of the person with whom he shares a household, but no later than day 10.

    • Quarantine does not have to be ordered

    • to persons who have suffered from COVID-19 in the last 180 days and does not show any symptoms;
    • to persons who have been vaccinated against COVID-19;
      • and it has been at least 14 days since the first application of two-dose vaccine;
      • it has been at least 14 days since the application of one-dose vaccine.

    • In the event that a person who has been "only" ordered to quarantine (this person does not exhibit symptoms and has not been tested positive) occurs in a common household, the quarantine is not automatically ordered for the whole household and all its members. In this case, it is recommended:

    • to 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.

    4. Schools

    Currently all pupils and students can attend school withnout the rotation principle and being present in the class.

    5. Ban on public and private events, leisure time

    • Concerts and other musical, theatrical, film, other artistic performances and sport matches and events may be held indoors or outdoors with no limit on the maximum number of spectators.

    • Participation in public events is conditional on passing a test or undergoing vaccination. (more in conditions for retail and services).

    • If the event is held in an area with a capacity of over 3,000 spectators, at least half of the spectators over 3,000 must provide proof of attendance with a vaccination certificate.

    • Other public or private events (gatherings, celebrations, shows, e.g.) may take place indoors for maximum of 500 persons and outdoors for a maximum of 1000 persons.

    6. Retail and services

    • All retail and service establishments can now be open to public.

    • In all retail and service establishments, the operator is obliged to comply with following rules:

    • do not allow more than 1 customer per 10 sq. meters;
    • place disinfectants on frequently touched objects (handles, railings, shopping carts);
    • actively prevent bunching (1,5 m distance) provide queue management and information to customers regarding the rules;

    while specific establishments are obliged to also follow special rules (more below)

    • Catering services may only be provided under certain conditions:

    • no more than 6 customers may sit at one table;
    • more customers may seated at a long table when keeping a distance of 1,5 m between the groups;
    • there must be no more people on the premises than there are seats;

    • Cosmetic, massage and similar regeneration or reconditioning services may only be provided under the following conditions.

    • There is at least 1,5 metres distance between the customers.

    • Recreational stays, spa services, hairdressing services, manicures, massages and services of sports and restaurant facilities, wellness services, aquaparks, casinos and public events may be used by the public only if the person

    • submit a certificate of completion of an antigen test (the test must not be older than 72 hours) or PCR test (the test must not be older than 7 days) with a negative result from the testing centre;
    • will be tested on the spot;
    • document that she has had COVID-19 within the last 180 days and that the isolation period has passed;
    • has already been vaccinated against COVID-19 and can prove that he/she has a corresponding certificate and that:
      • at least 14 days have elapsed since the administration of the second dose of the two-dose vaccine;
      • at least 14 days have passed since the dose was applied for a single-dose vaccine.

    Behaviour of employees in the workplace and obligations of the employer

    Stores and services can currently be opened.

    It is still necessary for people in the workplace to be considerate of each other and to comply with following rules.

    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, for example 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);

    • 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;

    • if possible, allow employees to work from home.

    Testing of the employees

    Currently, only employees of health and social service providers with inpatient care are required to undergo testing at the workplace. Employees are required to have an antigen test every 7 days (exceptions apply for vaccinated employees and employees who have had COVID-19 within the last 180 days).

    In other workplaces, employee testing generally cannot be enforced.

    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.

    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 risk of infection. But it cannot forbid private trips altogether.

    Upon the return of employees from foreign leave, the employer shall not allow employees to enter the workplace until proof of infection-free status has been provided by passing a test or proof of a complete vaccination.

    Only when returning from countries with a low and medium risk of infection may the employee be allowed to enter the workplace, but until the employee has passed an additional test, the employee must wear a respirator in all areas.

    If employers fail to comply with this obligation, they risk a fine of up to CZK 1,000,000 under the Public Health Protection Act or the risk of criminal liability for spreading a contagious disease, even out of negligence.

    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 their personal doctor or 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 it is decided that there is no need to test the employee, the employee can come to one of the collection points himself and have himself tested. 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.

    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.).

    Closure of schools - nursing and return to work

    At present, Nursing is no longer covered by a special law and is only regulated by the Sickness Insurance Act. By its wording, employees should have claim to compensation, if they are taking care of:

    • child younger than 10;

    • dependent children attending school, relying on the care of another person (from grade I onwards) without age restrictions;

    • persons older than 10 relying on the care of another person using the services of daily, weekly hospitals and similar facilities.

    The sub-support period is a maximum of 9 calendar days (16 days for a single parent employee). The amount of the sickness allowance is 60 % of the daily assessment base.

    In conclusion

    Nevertheless, the epidemiological situation is evolving 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.

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