Changes in rules of entry to workplace following return from abroad
As of July 1, 2021, mandatory COVID-19 testing of employees at their workplace ended in the Czech Republic. However, since July 9, 2021, new obligations of testing for COVID-19 for persons returning from abroad have been introduced. The new rules also impose restrictions with respect to return to work after coming back from being abroad (especially from holidays or business trips).
Under the new rules, each person, who stayed abroad for more than 12 hours in the last 14 days, has the obligation to undergo a mandatory COVID-19 test. This obligation applies to all people above the age of six except for fully vaccinated persons and those who have contracted COVID-19 in the last 180 days.
The Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic distinguishes five categories of countries according to the degree of COVID-19 risks.
Under this distinction, travellers returning from a country with mild and moderate risk of infection are obliged to undergo an antigen or PCR test. Before or no later than five days after entering the territory of the Czech Republic, all employees who are obliged to undergo the test must inform the employer that he/she was abroad and may enter the workplace upon return. Until the result of the test is available, he/she is obliged to wear a face mask of at least the FFP2 filter level.
If an employee is returning from high-risk and very high-risk countries, they will need to undergo a PCR test before arrival to the Czech Republic and an additional test must be taken no earlier than on the 5th day but no later than the 14th day after returning to the Czech Republic. Until the test result is available, the employee has to stay in self-isolation and may not enter workplace. In practice, this means that if the employee’s work does not allow for work from home, the employee will be absent from his/her work for at least five days after their return. Unless it has been agreed that they can use their holiday allowance for this leave, it will be unpaid. When returning from countries with extreme risk an additional test may not be taken earlier than on the 10th day after return.
The selection of countries to the risk categories has been constantly changing and is quite unpredictable. Therefore, employees are not able to plan their holidays without the risk of mandatory extension of their holidays for the period of self-isolation (5 or 10 days). Also, employers must be ready for the cases when an employee will not be able to return to work as originally planned.
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