After Slovenia closed schools followed by an announcement of an epidemic on 12 March and the Prime Minister called for self-isolation, questions arose regarding what happens to employment relationships and how the businesses should react. Suddenly working from home, where possible, seemed to be the only solution to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.
The competent Ministry issued guidelines for the exercising of rights and obligations under employment relationship in times of special circumstances to reduce the spread of coronavirus on 16 March. Below you can find an outline of situations, that is also confirmed by the competent Ministry, which can happen in light of COVID-19 and obligations of the employer according to the Slovenian Labour law.
|Situation||Salary / Compensation||Payer|
|1.||A healthy employee who stays at home, in agreement with the employer, for preventive reasons.||100% salary||employer|
|2.||A healthy employee to whom the employer orders a stay at home due to business reasons (under the condition that more than 30 % of employees are unable to work) *||Compensation in the amount of 80% of employee’s salary received in the last three months||60 % employer|
40% The Republic of Slovenia
|3.||A healthy employee to whom the employer orders work from home or other types of work.||100% salary||employer|
|4.||A healthy employee in quarantine (based on the decision of the Ministry of Health, to whom the employer orders work from home or other types of work.||100% salary||employer|
|5.||A healthy employee in quarantine (based on the decision of the Ministry of Health, who cannot perform work from home. *||compensation of his 80% salary||The Republic of Slovenia|
|6.||Sick and confirmed infected employees.||90% compensation for sickness leave for first 90 days, 100% for further absence (above 90 days)||The Republic of Slovenia|
|7.||The employee, who stays at home due to childcare (since schools and kindergartens are closed) or due to the prohibition of public transportation and cannot perform his work from home.||compensation in the amount of 50 % of employee’s salary||employer|
*Situation governed by the new Act on Interim Measures in the field of wages and contributions that was adopted on 20 March 2020.
If more than 30 % of employees are unable to work due to business reasons, then new Act on the Interim Measure in the field of wages and contributions enables employers to share the burden of compensation in a way that 40% of the compensation will be covered by the Republic of Slovenia and 60% by employers. In order to receive compensation from the Republic of Slovenia, several additional measures need to be fulfilled. The employer must send to the Employment Service of Slovenia submission in electronic or written form that shall include a description of the business situation that occurred due to COVID-19 in 8 days from when the employees were ordered to work from home, but no later than 30 September 2020, establish that it is unable to provide work for at least 30 % of employees and order employees to wait for work at home as well to provide a written statement saying that it will not terminate employment contracts of employees that are waiting for work at home within the period of 6 months from the beginning of such measure. The employer has to consult with trade unions/workers council before adopting such a measure or if the employer has no trade unions or workers council, then the employer has to inform employees regarding the measure in a manner usually used by an employer before adopting such a decision. An employer is entitled to compensation by the Republic of Slovenia only until 30 September 2020 and for a maximum of 3 months.
According to the new Act, self-employed persons who have no other employees and self-employment is their sole basis for inclusion in compulsory social insurance are automatically granted deferred payment of contributions due in April, May and June 2020. The outstanding contributions must be paid by the beneficiary by 31 March 2022 at the latest. Payment can be made in a lump sum or in installments, the latter will also be possible with no default interest. In case the beneficiary has outstanding obligations due by 28 February 2020, greater than EUR 50 and will not be settled until 6 April 2020, they shall not be granted a deferral pursuant to the new Act.
Due to the suspension of public transport and the closing of borders with neighbouring countries, the employee may not be able to work from home. The competent Ministry is of the opinion that force majeure could be applicable in such a case. Yet, all elements of force majeure must be assessed on a case by case basis. If an employee cannot perform work due to force majeure, the employer and the employee share the risk as the burden of compensation is lower than in other cases. The compensation in such an event amounts to 50 % of the salary or at least 70 % of the minimum salary in Slovenia. The same applies to staying at home due to childcare. According to publication by the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, closing of schools due to the reduction of spread of the coronavirus which leads to the need for childcare, may be the force majeure in their opinion. However, when estimating whether such an event represents the force majeure, all circumstances have to be taken into consideration, especially the age of the child, the possibility to arrange childcare by another person, possibility to organize work hours in a more flexible manner, etc.
As the situation and state measures change on a daily basis, we advise the employers to closely monitor the situation and updated information by state authorities. It is crucial to ensure health and safety at work for all employees.