From 9 November 2020 to 6 December 2020, an emergency situation will be in force in Latvia, with the right to extend or shorten it.
An emergency situation is a special legal regime during which the government has the right to restrict the rights and freedoms of state administration and local government institutions, natural and legal persons following the procedures and degrees specified by Law, as well as to impose additional duties on them.
Additional obligations for employers:
During the period of the emergency situation, given that around 27% of newly registered Covid-19 cases are related to workplaces, employers have the following additional duties:
- to provide workers with remote working opportunities, provided that the specific nature of the work so permits and the worker can carry out their full working duties at home.
This means that, during the emergency, active input is required from the employer, on its own initiative, by offering employees the opportunity to work remotely. The order states that work should be carried out remotely from the employee’s place of residence (home), but not from any other place where the employee could perform their duties.
As stated in the annotation to the Cabinet Order “On the announcement of an emergency” (the Order), the stated provision: “[…] does not allow the employer to take a decision unilaterally on remote working of the employee, but it must be based on mutual agreement. Remote working opportunities are assessed from the point of view of whether an employee has a sufficiently well-equipped workplace at home and all the necessary tools are available to perform their duties (telephone, internet connection, appropriate office equipment, etc.).
- providing personal protective equipment(e.g. face masks, respirators, aprons, coats) for work at the office/ workplace;
This employer’s obligation arises from legislation already in force, but the Order’s annotation specifically emphasises that this obligation is included in the Order to “ensure a common understanding on this issue”.
- to adopt measures to limit the spread of Covid-19 to the working collective by identifying the person responsible and informing employees of the measures.
Equally important are both implementation of measures and provision of comprehensive information to employees.