On 18 March 2020, the President of the Republic of North Macedonia declared a state of emergency due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) throughout the entire territory of the country for 30 days, with the possibility of extension. During the past week, the Government of North Macedonia (“Government”) adopted several measures listed below that affect the employment sector directly or indirectly.
Note that the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy of North Macedonia urges employers to comply with the measures and recommendations and encourage employees to call the State Labour Inspectorate in case of non-compliance with orders or prohibitions. Additionally, natural persons and legal entities that fail to respect and violate the measures and recommendations issued by the MK Government could be sanctioned under Articles 205 (Transmitting an infectious disease) and 206 (Not acting according to health regulations during an epidemic) of the Criminal Code.
In addition to the measures and recommendations, the MK Government announced the initial set of economic measures for mitigating the consequences from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
Parents of children under 10 years of age
Due to the suspension of the educational process, one of the parents of children aged under 10 years (including single parents) is exempt from work and work duties, and their absence should be recorded as justified by their employer. These employees are obligated to provide proof that they meet this criterion (such as certificate issued from kindergartens, copy from passport or copy from a birth certificate to prove the child’s age, etc.). Additionally, employees must submit a statement under full moral, material and criminal liability that they will use such absence, and that they will be available to work from home if the employer requires them to do so. In an urgent situation, these employees may be required to be physically present at their workplace, for a period of two to three hours.
Pregnant women and chronically ill people
It is recommended for pregnant women and those who are chronically ill to be exempt from their work duties and stay at home. Those who are chronically ill should obtain a certificate from their general practitioner. There is a determined list of categories of people who must be exempt from work (e.g. people with chronic respiratory disease, severe cardiovascular disease, diabetes – TYP1, malignant diseases, and immune-compromising states, etc.), again on the basis of a certificate from their general practitioner.
Working from home
It is recommended that all employers in North Macedonia, i.e. any manager or executive person in the institutions, to organize the work and the modus of work of the employees through working from home, depending on the type of work and possibilities and without disturbing the regular and the normal functioning of the institution.
Recommendations for factories and plants with a large number of employees
Work in factories and larger plants should be reorganized in shifts (even in four shifts if necessary). After each shift, the premises should be appropriately disinfected. Additionally, in plants where the production process is directly carried out, the number of employees should be limited to the extent that workers are at a distance of 1.5 metres to 2 metres. All work premises should be disinfected once a week by an authorised service. Meetings should not be held in person, but communication should be conducted via phone or email.