The project of changes in the special law on the COVID-19 providing facilitation for employers
In view of numerous doubts of entrepreneurs regarding the procedure of dealing with the COVID-19 threat, especially with regard to the processing of personal data of employees, the Senate has prepared a draft law on the amendment of the Special Act on COVID-19, which entered into force on March 8, 2020. The project will now be considered by the Parliament.
Employer’s rights in relation to the COVID threat – 19 in terms of personal data
The project assumes granting the Employer, in order to counteract COVID-19, the right to:
- demand from a worker information whether he has recently been at a site at risk of COVID-19 infection,
- demand from a worker who has a reasonable suspicion of being infected with COVID-19 or who has recently been at a site at risk of COVID-19 infection to undergo the necessary medical examinations,
- control the health condition of a worker before he is allowed to work, in particular by measuring the worker’s body temperature,
- introduce additional sanitary or health and safety requirements at the workplace.
The proposed solutions meet the expectations of employers who currently, due to the still valid opinion of the National Labour Inspectorate of February 26, 2020 prohibiting the above mentioned activities, do not know how they can protect their employees from COVID – 19. Admittedly, the President of UODO pointed out that the rules of GDPR cannot stand in the way of the tasks in the fight against coronavirus, in terms of specific rights and obligations of employers he referred to the recommendations of the Chief Sanitary Inspector, who so far did not cover issues related to the processing of personal data.
Other entitlements for employers
The project also provides for the following solutions for employers in relation to the COVID threat – 19:
- the possibility of instructing an employee to perform remote work,
- the possibility to apply to the district labour inspector for a decision on temporary suspension of the operation of the workplace if the number of employees assigned to remote work exceeds 20% of the state of employment or – regardless of the number of employees assigned to remote work – it prevents or significantly hinders the operation of the workplace,
- exemption of the employer from the obligation to pay wages to the employee in the event of his compulsory hospitalisation or quarantine due to COVID-19 (the wages would be paid from the Guaranteed Employee Benefits Fund),
- deferment of payment and payment in instalments of social security contributions at the request of an employer who is in financial difficulty because of COVID-19
The government is also preparing the so called „governmental”, a business shielding package to comprehensively address the negative economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.