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An employee falls sick with the coronavirus: the actions of the employer

An employee falls sick with the coronavirus: the actions of the employer

LEGAL DIGEST, NEWS \ 14.08.2020

The new reality poses even more demanding challenges to employers, such as introducing a safe operation standard and ensuring compliance with sanitary standards in order to counteract coronavirus. 

But what if the employee has COVID-19 detected? The employer’s actions directly depend on whether the employee falls sick in the office or at home. In this article, we will have a look at the algorithm of the employer’s actions when each of the situations occurs.

If the employee falls sick “working in the remote mode”

It is possible find out if an employee has a coronavirus in the following ways:

  1. The employee himself or herself informs of the confirmed diagnosis
  2. The organization receives an instruction from the Federal Service for the Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare (abbreviated in Russian as “Rospotrebnadzor”)
  3. The company tests employees for coronavirus (relevant to Moscow organizations)

In this case, the employer should instruct the employee that he or she cannot visit his or her workplace, and should find out whether a diseased employee was in the office in the latest 14 days. If so, the employer determines the circle of colleagues with whom the employee with the detected virus was in contact, and sends them to self-isolation in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the company, as well as draws up an Order on denial of access for working for both the diseased person and all contact persons.

Please be reminded that the contact person is a person who, within two weeks after the onset of symptoms in a patient with coronavirus:

– communicated with the patient within 1 meter and for more than 15 minutes; 

– was in the same premises with a patient with COVID-19 for any period of time, for example, in the room, open space, or dining room

– moved within 1 meter of the patient with COVID-19 on any means of transport (if the company has a corporate conveying).

If the company receives a request from the territorial authorities of Rospotrebnadzor, it is necessary to promptly provide all information about all contacts of the employee who has fallen sick with COVID-19 (Letter No. 02/3853-2020-27 of Rospotrebnadzor dated March 10, 2020).

Then, the sick employee is given a medical sick leave certificate, which should be brought to the company after discharge (or inform the number of the electronic document). If the patient’s condition is grave, the employee will be on sick leave. Please note that an employee cannot work under a temporary disability leave owing to coronavirus, since the paid allowance is intended to reimburse for lost earnings when the employee is unable to work (article 183 of the Labour Code of the Russian Federation, part 1 of article 1.3 of Law No. 255-FZ dated December 29, 2006). If the employee continues to work and receives a salary, an allowance at the expense of the Social Insurance Service of the Russian Federation will be recognized as overpaid.

Time recording for a temporary disability leave for the coronavirus need to be maintained like a regular sick leave, and before the end of the year payments for the month do not depend on the labour experience and should be not lower than the federal minimum living wage (article 1 of Law No. 104-FZ dated April 1, 2020).

If the sickness is mild or asymptomatic, the employee can work from home, and it is not necessary to issue a sick leave. In order for an employee to continue working remotely, it is necessary to conclude a supplementary agreement with him or her and issue an order based on it to switch the employee to remote working.

If an employee falls sick in the office

According to the recommendations of Rospotrebnadzor, the employer should explain to employees that they should stay at home and call a doctor at the first symptoms of disease (fever heat, undue fatiguability, symptoms of acute respiratory viral infection (ARVI)). In addition, do not forget to record temperature changes among your employees in the registration log. 

If an employee came into work with symptoms of sickness (or worked in the office until the diagnosis was confirmed), he or she should be isolated in separate premises and call an ambulance, or sent home. Then, the employer should also determine a list of contact persons and send them to self-isolation. The next step is to issue a certificate on the transfer of the employee to the ambulance, as well as an order on denial of access to the workplace for him or her and all those who was in contact with him or her.

An important difference from the first case is that the employer also has to disinfect the premises and common facilities where the sick employee was and worked, as well as to distribute alcohol wipes for office equipment to employees to treat all surfaces that the employee with the detected virus touched.

Please note that the tax code has been introduced amendments which allow to include in other profits tax expenses costs for disinfection of premises, purchase of devices, laboratory equipment, special clothing and other means of individual protective gear and collective protective equipment aimed at meeting sanitary and epidemiological requirements in connection with coronavirus.

Employer’s responsibility for sick employees

The employer should strictly comply with sanitary and hygienic regulations and standards in connection with the coronavirus, since the company may be brought to administrative and criminal liability for failure to comply with the standards:

– an officer who allowed a sick employee to work will be fined of 50,000 – 150,000 rubles, and the organization will be fined of 200,000 – 500,000 rubles or will receive a suspension of activity for up to 90 days.

– if a person is suffered or died as a result of a violation (part 3 of article 6.3 of the Administrative Code), officers will be fined of 150,000 – 300,000 rubles or will receive a disqualification for a period between one and three years. For organizations, the fine will vary between 500,000 and 1,000,000 rubles, or the activity will be suspended for up to 90 days.

– if the violation caused a mass disease or threat of such a disease, the officer faces criminal liability – imprisonment for 2 years.

Acsour’s specialists recommend to carefully approach meeting the requirements of Rospotrebnadzor in terms of ensuring safe operation at your enterprises. You can always contact us for advice in the matters of drawing up a safe operation standard, as well as issuance of other related documents. 

Tatiana Kazakova

Specialist of the business development department