Employment related measures in light of COVID-19 (as at 25.3.2020)
In light of developments related to the SARS-COV-2 virus (COVID-19), we have prepared an overview of some employment related measures that may be relevant in the current situation to businesses and other entities.
Temporary irregular distribution of working time
If conditions for a temporary redistribution of working time are met, an employer may temporarily distribute the working time irregularly.
Temporary lay-off of the employees (in Slovene: čakanje na domu)
An employee may, in the agreement with an employer, preventively stay at home. In this case, the employee is entitled to a 100 % wage compensation. If the employer cannot temporarily provide the work for the employee, the employer may lay him or her off in writing. The employee is entitled to a wage compensation of 80 % of the wage base.
New Intervention Act foresees the right to a partial reimbursement of the paid wage compensation, whereas at least 30 % of employees must be laid-off at the same time. An employee may be laid-off for a maximum period of 3 months. The amount of partial reimbursement which is covered by the Republic of Slovenia amounts to 40% of the wage compensation (calculated from 80 % of the wage base) and is limited to the maximum amount of unemployment benefit, i.e. 892,50 EUR gross. The compensation is paid out to the employer monthly.
Use of leave and imposition of joint leave
An employee may be allowed to take annual leave. An employer does not have the right to unilaterally order the employee to take a leave. If the employer is willing to grant the employee unpaid leave at his or her request, we advise that the employer and the employee enter into a written agreement, specifying the duration of the leave, the potential rights and obligations of the contracting parties during this period, and the agreement regarding the payment of social security contributions.
The employer may order a joint annual leave, but only to a limited extent (with at least some kind of understanding from employees’ side), so that the needs of the employee (opportunities for rest and recreation of the employee and his family responsibilities) are also considered to a certain extent. Therefore, it is advisable to reach an agreement with employees regarding a joint leave.
Change of employment contract due to changed circumstances
An employee and an employer can agree on a wage cut by signing an annex to the employment contract.
Cancellation of employment contract for business reason (by offering a new employment contract)
An employer may terminate an employment contract for business reasons if, due to economic difficulties, an employee cannot be guaranteed work under the terms of the employment contract (e.g. due to the salary). Simultaneously, the employer may offer the employee the option of concluding a new employment contract, for indefinite duration with reduced salary. In the event of cancellation of contracts for a large number of employees for business reasons, the employer is obliged to draw up a dismissal programme for redundant employees. Certain categories of employees are given a special protection against cancellation of an employment contract.
Inability to carry out work for working parents due to closure of educational institutions
Pursuant to the Employment Relationships Act, if an employee cannot carry out his or her work due to force majeure, he or she shall be entitled to 50 % of the wage base he or she would have received if he or she was working, but not less than 70% of the minimum wage.
Inability to carry out work due to assigned quarantine
Pursuant to the new Intervention Act, when an employee will be in a quarantine, which shall be declared by the Minister of Health, and will therefore be unable to work, the employee will be entitled to a wage compensation of 80 % of the wage base. In such case, the Republic of Slovenia will bear the full burden of the compensation for the quarantined period.
Order to home working (change of employment contract) and temporary change of place of carrying out work due to exceptional circumstances (without change of employment contract)
In principle, an employer cannot unilaterally order an employee to home working. The employer is obliged to inform the labour inspectorate about the intended organisation of home working. The employer is obliged to ensure safe working conditions at home.
In exceptional circumstances, a type or place of carrying out work may be temporarily altered without the consent of the employee, but only for the duration of such circumstances. Pursuant to Article 169 of the Employment Relations Act the employer may, therefore, unilaterally order home working under the current circumstances. In the unilateral determination of home working due to exceptional circumstances, it is advisable to notify the labour inspectorate as soon as possible.
Absence from work for health reasons
An employee is entitled to absence from work in cases of temporary incapacity for work due to illness or injury and in other cases (e.g. care of a close family member) in accordance with the regulations on health insurance. During temporary absence from work, the employee is entitled to a 90 % wage compensation, which is from the first working day of absence covered by the Health Insurance Institute of the Republic of Slovenia in case of isolation ordered by a personal doctor, while in other cases of illness (which are not cases of isolation), the wage compensation is covered by the employer, and from the 31st working day of work absence onwards, the Health Insurance Institute of the Republic of Slovenia.
Deferred payment for the contributions
Pursuant to the new Intervention Act, the right of deferred payment of contributions can be granted to every self-employed person who performs any gainful activity, is included in compulsory insurance schemes on the basis of the pursuit of this activity and complies with its tax obligations. The said beneficiary is deferred to pay the contributions due in April, May and June 2020, which the beneficiary must pay no later than 31 March 2022.
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Our law firm is actively following the latest COVID-19 developments. As always, you can contact us via e-mail or telephone +386 (0)1 2445500, or you can directly contact the lawyer you are generally in contact with.
Law Firm Kavčič, Bračun & Partners, o.p., d.o.o.
Ljubljana, 25 March 2020
All information contained herein is based on applicable law or obtained from publicly available data or other sources believed to be reliable. This document is for general information purposes only, may be subject to change and may not be used instead of a legal opinion/advice. KBP does not guarantee the accuracy of the information and shall not be liable for any damages or costs in connection with the use of, or reliance on, the information contained herein.