On 24 October 2020, the so called Fifth Anti-Corona Package (PKP5) or the Act on Interim Measures for Mitigation and Elimination of Consequences of COVID-19 (ZZUOOP) came into force.
In the field of labour law, PKP5 prolongs certain measures available to the employers which have already been implemented by previous intervention acts and also introduces some new ones.
The main measures available to the employers with the aim of mitigating and eliminating the consequences of COVID-19 are the following:
EMPLOYEES TEMPORARILY WAITING FOR WORK
PKP5 prolongs the measure of temporarily waiting for work with the possibility of reimbursement of wage compensation. The employers may claim reimbursement for employees ordered to wait for work at home until 31 December 2020. The Government of the Republic of Slovenia may extend this measure for additional 6 months (however, for no longer than until 31 July 2020).
The conditions under which the employers may claim reimbursement of paid wage compensation from the Employment Service of Slovenia for employees waiting for work at home are stricter under the PKP5 as they were under previously valid intervention acts. Namely, the threshold of assessed suffered decline in employer’s revenue which represents a main condition for successful reimbursement, is higher.
The application for reimbursement should be filed in electronic form within 8 days from sending an employee to wait for work at home, but no later than on 15 December 2020.
SUBSIDIES FOR SHORTER FULL-TIME WORK
The same as previously valid intervention acts, PKP5 maintains the possibility for subsidized shorter full-time work, while the conditions remain unchanged. This measure is valid until 31 December 2020 (with the possibility of extension).
The employer must apply for the subsidies at the Employment Service of Slovenia no later than on 10 December 2020.
REIMBURSEMENT OF SALARY COMPENSATION FOR EMPLOYEES DUE TO QUARANITE OR FOR EMPLOYEES UNABLE TO WORK DUE TO CHILD CARE
Under the PKP5, the employers have the possibility to exercise the right of reimbursement of paid wage compensations for employees unable to perform work due to the ordered quarantine, provided that the employer cannot organize work from home for such employees. This option is also provided to the employers in case the employees are unable to perform work due to force majeure, which is a consequence of the obligation to care for a child up to and including the 5th grade of primary school or a child with special needs.
The employers may claim reimbursement of compensation for employees with ordered quarantine from 1 October 2020 until 31 December 2020. In case of inability to perform work due to childcare, the employers are entitled to claim reimbursement of wage compensation from 1 September 2020 onwards (also until 31 December 2020), in both cases with the possibility of extension for six months.
PKP5 sets shorter deadlines for submitting the request for reimbursement compared to previously valid intervention acts. Namely, the employers must submit the application within 8 days since the employee’s absence or within 8 days since PKP5 entered into force (if the employers claim reimbursement of wage compensation for the period prior its enforceability). In any case, the employers must submit the application by 31 December 2020.
PKP5 also sets out additional conditions and requirements under which the employers may successfully claim reimbursement of paid compensation to employees.
In addition to the above measures, PKP5 also introduces the following two novelties:
ABSENCE FROM WORK WITHOUT DOCTOR’S APPROVAL
PKP5 introduces the possibility for employees to stay at home due to illness and not perform work without doctor’s approval and confirmation. Such absence from work is permitted for maximum of three subsequent work days and only once a year. The employee should inform the employer about absence in writing (email notification is also valid) on the first day of absence.
Wage compensation for days of absence is advanced by the employer, having the possibility to request reimbursement from the Slovenian Health Institute. This measure applies until 31 December 2020 whereas the Slovenian Government may prolong it for additional six months.
THE COST OF COVID-19 TEST IS NOT CONSIDERED AS EMPLOYEE’S BENEFIT
In the event that the employers refer the employees to test for COVID-19, the payment of the test is not considered as employee’s credit rating up until 30 June 2021. If so decided by the Slovenian Government, also this measure may be extended for additional six months.