What obligations are imposed on the employer in connection with the introduced emergency regime

11.10.2021 Aleksandrs Koposovs, the member of the board

On October 9, 2021, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia adopted Order No. 720, according to which an emergency regime was introduced in Latvia for the period from October 11, 2021 to January 11, 2022. What restrictions were introduced and what obligations must be observed during this period, for the violation of which administrative responsibility may arise in the form of an administrative fine?

One of the most important requirements is the responsibilities assigned to the employer.

The employer is obliged:

  1. to provide employees with the opportunity to work remotely, if the specifics of the work allows it;
  2. to organize work in such a way that on the spot, on the basis of the employer’s order, work duties are performed only by those employees who ensure the continuity of work and cannot perform this remotely at their workplace;
  3. to ensure that employees who do not have a valid vaccination certificate or a past illness certificate are only in the workplace with a Covid-19 test certificate or an employer-performed antigen test that has been performed not more than 72 hours ago;
  4. not to admit the employee to places of assembly that are not related to the performance of direct work duties.

The first and fourth rule may not apply to employees who have a negligible risk of contact with coworkers or visitors, both in the workplace and in common areas.

If the employer has informed the employee that a vaccination certificate or a certificate of a past illness is required to perform work duties, the employee is obliged to start vaccination no later than 7 days from the receipt of such information and complete it no later than 7 days after the short period specified in the vaccine use instructions. If the employee does not start vaccination or does not finish it on time (by November 15, 2021), the employer is obliged to suspend the employee from performing work duties.

The above requirement is mandatory only if the employer has independently determined that the company requires employees to have vaccination certificates, and he has informed the employees about this.

The employer assesses each employee (including volunteers and outsourced persons), their job responsibilities and work circumstances, identifying the risks of infection and possible health risks to others. Based on the assessment of the specified risks of infection in the workplace, assessing each case individually and taking into account the principle of proportionality, fairness and equity, it is required that employees have a certificate of vaccination or a certificate of past illness, if any of the specified circumstances exist:

  1. if an employee, while performing work duties, comes into direct contact with the client, gets into physical contact or is closer than two meters from the client for a long time, or some employees perform work duties in long contact with each other, get into physical contact or stay closer than two meters for a long time;
  2. if employees have an increased possibility of becoming infected by being in direct contact and contact with a large number of persons whose health status is not known;
  3. if the work duties of the employee on the spot are critical to society, as well as to ensure the continuity of the enterprise or institution.

If an employee needs a test certificate to fulfill his/her job duties and comply with epidemiological safety requirements at the workplace or to provide services, the employee will provide this test at his/her own expense, unless otherwise agreed with the employer.

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