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19.03.2020
Kambourov and Partners

On March 18, the National Assembly adopted at first reading the Emergency Measures Draft Law. It reproduces much of the already known anti-epidemic measures from the Minister of Health's Order, which imposed the first restrictions on social life (ban on public events, closure of schools and kindergartens, commercial, food and entertainment establishments, suspension of planned medical operations, etc.). The draft law provides for a number of additional measures of organizational nature, such as suspension of the procedural deadlines on pending court, arbitration, administrative and enforcement proceedings. The text also provides for some amendments to the Labour Code, in particular to the conditions and procedures for using paid and unpaid leave, in order to overcome problems in the arrangements for home offices and remote work.

The proposed amendments include:

    ○  The possibility for the employer, in the event of a state of emergency, to assign the employee without his or her consent to carry out temporary homework and / or remote work.      

    ○  The possibility for the employer, in the event of a state of emergency, by way of order to suspend the work of the enterprise, part of the enterprise or of individual employees for the whole or part of the period until the end of the state of emergency. If the work is suspended by way of an order of a state body, the employer is obliged not to allow the employees to their workplaces for the whole period of emergency.

    ○   The possibility for the employer to establish temporary part-time work for full-time workers and employees. As part-time rights and obligations of the parties are proportional to the duration of the part-time work, the employer will be able to reduce his or her labour costs. The opportunity already exists, but is limited to a maximum of 3 months in one calendar year. The draft law binds the duration of the application of the measure with the term of the declared state of emergency.

    ○   Change in terms of annual paid leave according to which, if due to a declared state of emergency, by order of the employer or of a state body, the work of the enterprise, part of the enterprise or of individual employees is terminated, the employer is entitled to grant paid annual leave to and without the consent of the employee, including an employee who has not yet obtained 8 months of service. If the employee has taken the full amount of his paid annual leave, the employer provides unpaid leave. Certain categories of employees in a vulnerable social situation (pregnant women, mothers of young children, minors, etc.) are entitled to take paid or unpaid leave upon a declared emergency at their request. For social protection reasons, it is explicitly established that leave - whether paid or unpaid - is recognised as length of service.

        ○   Changes in the remuneration of employees in times of emergency. Compensation is foreseen in case of suspension of work under an order of a state body due to a declared state of emergency similar to the currently existing disaster compensation.