22nd April 2020

Coronavirus – a practical guide for employers in the Czech Republic

Česká verze k přečtění  ZDE.

State of emergency

The Government of the Czech Republic declared a state of emergency in the whole territory of the Czech Republic for a period of 30 days with effect from 12 March 2020 at 14:00. The Chamber of Deputies approved to extend the state of emergency until 30 April, 2020. The Government subsequently confirmed this extension of the state of emergency in its resolution.

As a result of the state of emergency, individual emergency measures, in accordance with Act No. 240/2000 Coll., on Crisis Management, will be implemented through government resolutions or measures issued by the Ministry of Health.

Emergency measures of the Czech Republic

In connection with the unfavourable development of the epidemiological situation in the occurrence of coronavirus in Europe, the following measures were issued in the Czech Republic:

1. Restrictions on the movement of persons

  • From 16 March 2020 at 00:00 the free movement of persons in the territory of the Czech Republic is prohibited. This prohibition was extended by order of Ministry of Health until the end of the state of emergency. These following examples are exceptions to the prohibition:
    • travel to work and business activities;
    • necessary trips to family and close persons;
    • trips necessary for the provision of basic necessities of life (purchase of food, medicines, sanitary goods);
    • travel to medical facilities and social sevices facilities;
    • trips to deal with urgent matters;
    • returning to a person´s home;
    • visits to nature or parks;
    • attending funerals;
    • trips for the purpose of lectures, examinations or other activities at universities.
  • At the same time, it is ordered to restrict stays in publicly accessible places to the necessary time limit contact with other persons for the necessary time and keep at least 2 m distance between persons.
  • In a publicly accessible place, people are ordered to reside in a maximum of two persons, except for members of the household, profession or funeral.
  • It is recommended that employers make the most of teleworking, support the taking of holiday and paid time off.
  • Other recommendations include limiting employee contact with the public, keeping a distance of at least 2 meters, prioritizing contactless payments, and thorough disinfection of premises.
  • From 19 March 2020 at 00:00 onwards, persons are required to wear respiratory protective equipment on all places outside their home (covering mouth and nose) such as a respirator, drape, face mask or any scarf or any other means that can help prevent the spread of droplets. This obligation applies to any movement outside persons' home, even for a minimum period. The following are exempted from this Regulation:
    • Children under two years of age,
    • Public transport drivers who are alone in a closed cabin separated from the passenger area,
    • Persons with severe autism spectrum disorders,
    • Persons in a closed vehicle if they are all members of the common household.
  • From 25 March 2020, the time between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. is reserved in retail food stores and stores with hygienic and drugstore goods with area of more than 500 m2 exclusively for persons over 65 years of age and their necessary excort, with the exception of persons holding a ZTP/P card, employees or persons providing nursing service and owners or employees of the store operator.
  • In stores with are smaller than 500 m2, aforesaid persons should be only preferred.
  • From 14 April 2020 the regime should be loosened and it will be allowed to travel abroad, for example, to carry out a business trip, visit relatives or your doctor. However, after returning to the Czech Republic, these persons must be quarantined for 14 days.

2. Foreign travel and entry of foreign nationals

  • With effect from 31 March 2020 from 00:00 o'clock, it was forbidden to travel abroad to citizens of the Czech Republic and persons with permanent or temporary residence over 90 days to all countries. All foreigners are also prohibited from entering the Czech Republic.
  • This prohibition is imposed for the duration of the state of emergency.
  • With effect from 14 April 2020, the Government has made the following exceptions to the blanket border crossing ban:
    • lorry drivers, transport aircraft crews or drivers;
    • officials of international organisations and members of the integrated, diplomats;
    • Czech citizens or foreigners with permanent or temporary residence working in the territory of Austria, Germany, Poland or the Slovak Republic;
    • citizens of Germany, Austria, Poland and Slovakia regularly cross the internal borders; cross-border workers working in the Czech Republic;
    • EU citizens transiting to their home state through the Czech Republic;
    • if the entry of foreigners is in the interest of the Czech Republic;
    • critical infrastructure service staff;
    • possibility to travel only because of necessary and justified cases (e.g. fulfilment of official duties, work abroad - business trip, visit and care of relatives, attendance at a funeral, visit to a doctor, etc.)
  • The fulfilment of exceptions and the reason for departure must be properly documented in individual cases (e.g. confirmation of employer, summons to the office, medical examination).
  • Cross border workers (pendlers) are ordered to restrict movement in the Czech Republic to the necessary minimum. These persons are still not a subject to the exceptions to the prohibition of free movement of persons in the Czech Republic, such as necessary trips to family and relatives, stay in the countryside or parks or trips for the purpose of handling urgent official matters.
  • Newly with effect from 14.4.2020 has been unified conditions for all pendlers without distinction, with that:
    • The previous condition for the possibility of crossing the national border only up to 100 km has been eliminated (workers commuting more than 100 km but can only use the main border crossing points with the 24/7 regime);
    • Cross border worker is allowed to work abroad in the so-called 2 + 2 regime (2 weeks of work abroad, 2 weeks in home quarantine).
  • The above conditions for pendlers also apply to citizens of Germany, Austria, Poland and Slovakia (e.g. the same rules apply to Germans in the Czech Republic). Newly, however, must also quarantine in the Czech Republic. The stay of foreign pendlers in the Czech Republic will be as follows: Upon arrival in the Czech Republic, the pendler will have to report his arrival in the Czech Republic to the Regional Hygiene Station at the place of his stay in the Czech Republic. He can then work in the Czech Republic for at least 14 days, then he can return to Germany for at least 14 days and subsequently he can again travel to the Czech Republic - quarantine again then work for at least 14 days, while they do not have to quarantine in the Czech Republic.
  • When crossing state borders, pendlers are obliged to tolerate a subjection to a check of symptoms of infectious diseases and to provide assistance to medical workers.
  • From 21 March 2020, 00:00, pendlers are required to submit a confirmation for a cross-border worker.
  • Conditions for pendlers do not apply to workers in health care, social services, the integrated rescue system and for critical infrastructure workers who regularly cross national borders for the purpose of work. These workers may cross national borders daily without being obliged to order quarantine. However, if they plan to stay in the Czech Republic for more than 14 days, they must also quarantine.
    • For these workers, however, in the case of leaving to a neighbouring country for a period of less than 14 days, the obligation to obtain a letter of confirmation from the embassy (embassy in the Czech Republic) of the country of destination is valid. and that measures have been taken at the place of work (abroad) to prevent the spread of coronavirus, in particular the obligation to wear respiratory protective equipment. You only need to have the note displayed once and you need to submit it when you leave the Czech Republic.

3. Mandatory quarantine after crossing borders

  • From March 31, 2020, all persons entering the Czech Republic are required to notify their physician immediately upon entry into the Czech Republic by telephone or other remote access.
  • Newly, there is no longer a distinction between returning to the Czech Republic from risk and non-risk areas and doctors are obliged to decide on a quarantine order of 14 days.
  • With effect from April 14, 2020, a distinction was made for travel shorter or longer than 24 hours, and the change in the obligation to deposit quarantine.
    • Less than 24 hours - urgent and emergency situations without quarantine (IRS staff, doctor visit, funeral attendance, summons, family care)
    • Time longer than 24 hours - the necessity of ordering a 14-day quarantine upon return (travel for work, business trip, visit and family care)
  • Mandatory quarantine does not apply to workers in the area of health and social services, IRS units and critical infrastructure (if they stay in the Czech Republic for less than 14 days - foreign workers), transit EU citizens and foreigners authorized to stay in the EU.

4. Mandatory quarantine for persons who have been in contact with a patient infected with coronavirus

  • All physicians are instructed to order a 14-day quarantine period for persons who have been told by the respective Regional Hygiene Station that they have been in contact with a patient who has been confirmed to have coronavirus infection.
  • Such persons are obliged to cooperate with doctors and to comply with mandated quarantines.

5. School closures

  • All primary, secondary, tertiary and professional schools and universities are closed with effect from 11 March 2020 until further notice and therefore the personal presence of pupils and students is prohibited. School staff are not affected by the ban and it is recommended that teaching be carried out using means of distance communication.
  • The obligation to close school also applies to primary arts schools.
  • Preschools will remain open. However, many preschools are still closed or at least their capacity is limited.
  • From 20 April, 2020, the presence of final year students in libraries and study rooms, consultations or examinations (max. 5 persons), laboratory, experimental or artistic work, especially for the implementation of final theses and clinical and practical training, is possible.

6. Ban on public and private events

  • By its Resolution of 12 March 2020, the Government prohibited all cultural, sporting, religious and similar events with the participation of more than 30 persons, both public and private.
  • The prohibition did not apply to meetings and similar actions of constitutional bodies, public authorities, courts and other public or private persons (General Meeting of a public limited company) held by law, and funerals.
  • However, the Government, by its resolution, which subsequently prohibited the free movement of persons in the Czech Republic (see above Restrictions on the Movement of Persons), canceled its resolution on the prohibition of public events.
  • Cultural events can actually take place, but because of the prohibition of free movement of persons in the Czech Republic and the obligation to appear in pairs in public, no one can participate in these events.
  • From 20 April 2020 it is allowed to hold a wedding ceremony in the total number of max. 10 persons (including officials). Brides and grooms are not required to wear respiratory protection during the ceremony, but other participants are still required to maintain a distance of at least 2 meters from other persons (except household members and the bride and groom).
  • Church services will be held from 27 April, 2020 only with the maximum participation of 15 people, participants will continue to observe the spacing of 2 meters and will use respiratory protective equipment and disinfection when entering the area.

7. Restrictions on restaurants

  • From 6:00 a.m. on 14 March 2020, the presence of the public in all food service establishments is excluded, with the exception of establishments not serving the public (catering, health and social services, prison facilities). The prohibition also applies to the activities of catering establishments located within shopping centres with a sales area exceeding 5,000 m2.
  • This prohibition shall not apply to off-premises sales through the dispensing window or to take-away meals purchased without entering the premises. This type of sale is not subject to any time restrictions.

8. Retail and services

  • With effect from 6:00 a.m. on 14 March 2020, all retail sales and sale of services in establishments shall be prohibited. However, the government and the Ministry of Health gradually define stores and establishments not covered by this prohibition. Those are:
    • grocery stores (the sale of unpackaged pastry is allowed only if it is ensured that there is no crowding at the pastry collection point and the selling place is equipped with personal hygiene aids);
    • petrol stations;
    • sanitary goods, cosmetics and other dry goods;
    • pharmacies and dispensaries of medical devices, glasses, contact lenses;
    • small pets and feed and other animal needs;
    • newspapers, magazines and tobacco products;
    • repairs of road vehicles, if there are no more than 30 persons in the establishment, sale of spare parts for vehicles;
    • recovery and removal of road vehicles;
    • establishments allowing the collection of goods and consignments from a third party;
    • implementation of structures and their removal, project activity;
    • flower shops, sale of gardening supplies;
    • real estate mediation and activities of accounting advisors, bookkeeping and tax records;
    • ticket sales;
    • spa facilities providing, at least in part, a service covered by public health insurance;
    • funeral services;
    • sale of textile material;
    • service of computer and telecommunication equipment;
    • locksmithery and service of other household products and repair maintenance and installation of household equipment;
    • car washes;
    • laundry and dry cleaning services (self-service laundries are closed to the public only),
    • household equipment, when respiratory protective equipment or other means to prevent the spread of droplets, gloves or disinfection can be purchased at the establishment;
    • hobbymarkets, sale of building materials, construction products and hardware stores (cannot be open until 9 April 2020);
    • sale and servicing of bicycles (cannot be open until 9 April 2020);
    • collection of raw materials and composting plants;
    • sale of new and used road vehicles;
    • craft industries, with the exception of establishments where the service provider enters contact with the customer's body surface (e.g. barbershops, hairdressers, manicure).
  • Retail food shops with self-service are obliged to provide one-time gloves to customers.
  • At the same time, it is ordered that the following rules will be complied in all the above facilities:
    • actively prevent crowding
    • ensure customer queue management, both inside and outside the establishment (designation of waiting area, placement of tags for the minimum spacing – 2 meters),
    • place disinfectants near frequently touched objects (handles, railings, shopping trolleys), for both employees and customers,
    • ensure that employees wear gloves when in contact with goods and when receiving payments from customers
    • inform customers about the rules (by information leaflet or speaker in establishment)
  • Operation of gambling games and casinos pursuant to Act No. 186/2016 Coll. is prohibited from 14 March 2020 at 6:00 a.m. until the end of the state of emergency.
  • The sale of accommodation services, with the exception of accommodation in dormitories, spa facilities and school accommodation facilities, shall be prohibited from 16 March 2020 from 6.00 a.m.
  • Driving school and taxi services are also prohibited for the same period of time, with the exception of food delivery services or persons authorised to drive taxis (the ban therefore applies in particular to Uber or Bolt services).
  • The ban on providing accommodation services does not apply to the provision of accommodation for foreigners until they leave the Czech Republic and foreigners with a work permit.
  • It is possible to provide retail sales at farmers' and other outdoor markets only if they do not sell food exclusively for immediate consumption and provide tastings, and a distance of at least 2 meters between the stalls is observed. Disinfectant containers should be provided and workers should wear gloves when in contact with goods and customers.

9. Closure of establishments providing leisure activities and sport

  • From 13 March 2020, 6:00 a.m., all facilities providing services in the form of leisure and educational activities, in particular sports facilities, fitness centres, wellness facilities, swimming pools, galleries and other entertainment facilities, must remain closed.
  • The measure does not concern outdoor sports venues.
  • From 7 April 2020 12 a.m., sports on outdoor sports grounds, in parks, open air and other publicly available places are permitted, however, subject to those conditions:
    • persons doing sports at outdoor sports grounds are not required to wear respiratory protective equipment when separated from other persons by physical obstruction or min. 2 m,
    • only 2 persons do sport together at the same time
    • the related indoor areas of the sports grounds (changing rooms, washrooms) are not used.
  • Especially recommended is running, walking, cycling, outdoor skating, horseback riding, golf, tennis, table tennis, volleyball, skiing, canoeing, rowing, shooting sports, combat sports, all on outdoor sports grounds only.
  • At the same time, from 20 April, 2020, participation in training of athletes for whom sport is a gainful activity is permitted, while observing, for example, the following rules:
    • training takes place at an outdoor sports ground without the presence of the public,
    • athletes are not required to wear respiratory protection during training,
    • contact, combat exercises cannot be performed,
    • the related indoor areas of the sports ground are not used,
    • after finishing the training, it is necessary to carry out regular disinfection of all used training aids.

10. International transport

  • With effect from 14 March 2020 at 00:00, the transport of passengers across the borders of the Czech Republic is prohibited.
  • The measure applies to carriers operating international road passenger transport, provided by vehicles with a capacity of over 9 persons, international rail passenger transport, and cross-border inland waterway passenger transport.
  • All carriers are obliged to use only Václav Havel International Airport when engaging in commercial air transport that crosses the Czech border with passengers on board.
  • The measure allows for the return of citizens of the Czech Republic or persons with permanent or temporary residence over 90 days in the Czech Republic. Likewise, foreign nationals are allowed to leave the Czech Republic.

11. Spreading the coronavirus – a crime

The Ministry of Justice has included COVID-19 on the list of infectious diseases whose spread (even through negligence) can be considered a criminal offence, according to Sections 152 or 153 of the Criminal Code.

Preventive measures

The best way of combating SARS-CoV-2, causing COVID-19, continues to be general preventive recommendations, in particular regular hand washing, covering the mouth when coughing, keeping tabs on the movement of employees and not underestimating symptoms. Namely the spread can be prevented by wearing protective covers of mouth and nose in form of respirators or simple scarfs. You can find a summary of our preventive recommendations HERE.

How to protect employees' health

The employer must assess work-related risks and take measures to eliminate or minimise them. This includes the risk of infection with coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. The measures must be adapted to the specific conditions of the employer. Coronavirus is transmitted in the same way as influenza. Preventive measures are therefore very similar in both cases. Although the illness caused by coronavirus may have a complicated course, most infected patients develop only mild symptoms.

Preventive measures for employers may include:

  • Awareness among employees – warning of the need for regular hand washing with warm water and soap, recommendation of the right technique for washing hands and for covering the mouth when coughing. Tips about proper hand washing techniques can be found HERE.
  • Reduce face-to-face meetings and prioritise talks and meetings by video / teleconferencing, possibly outside the employer's premises.
  • Limit business trips and large conferences, especially abroad.
  • Consider more frequent cleaning of the premises or cleaning them with disinfectants and the provision of disinfectants on the employer's premises (gels, computer wipes, etc.). It may be appropriate to place disinfectants in a way that makes it difficult for them to be "removed" by employees for home use.
  • Provide protective equipment (respirators, face masks) to employees immediately at risk of infection. These typically are warehouse workers in contact with international lorry transports, receptionists in hotels, etc. At present there is no reason for food workers, waiters or factory workers to wear respirators. It is worth remembering that washing hands is more important than respirators for protection against infection. The respirator only protects when it is properly attached, removed and disposed of after use.
  • Restrict the movement of third parties in the employer's premises to reserved places or ban the entry of third parties altogether.
  • Allow employees to work from home when possible.

Employers should regularly inform their employees of the measures taken and planned, and update the contact details of the employees and persons to be contacted in case of questions regarding coronavirus.

Monitoring the private lives of employees

Employees may be required to provide information on the risks associated with coronavirus, such as whether they have not been abroad or have met an infected person. On the other hand, it may be difficult to punish employees for a false or incomplete answer.

Practically we advise employees to notify their employer if they have been abroad and of the obligation to contact their attending physician in case of symptoms of an infectious disease, as well as the possible consequences that concealing the journey to abroad may have, including compensation of damages, labour law and misdemeanour offences, and in extreme cases, criminal liability.

Likewise, the employer has the right to strongly advise employees not to travel privately to foreign countries. But it cannot forbid private trips altogether.

As of now, it is no longer possible to leave the territory of Czech Republic, excluding special cases. (more in Foreign travel and entry of foreign nationals).

Testing employees for coronavirus

The employer cannot enforce coronavirus testing. At present, these tests are performed only by decision of a doctor. While some healthcare facilities offer unofficial tests for reimbursement, they are not considered conclusive by the authorities at this time.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs recommends in a press release HERE that employers establish fitness to work through extra occupational medical examinations. However, we recommend that you consult your service provider beforehand.

What to do with an employee suspected of being infected?

If the employer is worried that the employee may be infected, we recommend agreeing (by telephone) with the employee that they report their health condition to the relevant regional public health station. They will decide on the need to perform a coronavirus test and to possibly order quarantine.

If the employee refuses to cooperate in this respect, the employer can inform the relevant hygiene centre, and they will try to contact the employee directly.

Employee has been quarantined

If an employee has been quarantined by a public health authority (the relevant regional public health office or even an attending physician), this constitutes an obstacle to work for which the employee is entitled to wage compensation as in the case of normal incapacity for work. This means that the employee is entitled to wage compensation of 60% of the average earnings (calculated from the reduced basis under the Labour Code) for the first 14 days of quarantine and from the 15th day will receive sickness benefit from the sickness insurance system.

The employee is obliged to inform the employer of the quarantine order without undue delay and to document the obstacle to work.

If the employee was diagnosed with COVID-19, the employer must inform all other employees by suitable means. Details about specific person are provided only in scope necessary for protection of health and in such way, that causes no harm to dignity and integrity of such person. Specific details should only be provided to affected colleagues.

We suspect that the employee was infected, but he or she was not quarantined

If a doctor has not found it necessary to quarantine the employee (his free movement is not a threat to the public) and the employee is not incapable of working, the employer must respect this conclusion.

If the employer nevertheless decides to try to prevent the employee from coming to the workplace, there are several possibilities:

  • Home office agreement – an option subject to the consent of the employee, if the nature of the work permits.
  • Send employees home due to "obstacles" – possible even without the employee's consent; the employer has to pay wage compensation equal to the average earnings.
  • Compensatory time off – if the employee has worked overtime, the employer may order them to use compensatory time off.
  • Unpaid leave – at the request of the employee, the employer may allow him/her to take unpaid leave.
  • Holiday – the possibility of taking a holiday, even without his/her consent; however, holiday must be ordered 14 days in advance, unless a shorter period has been agreed.
  • Cancellation of planned shifts – the possibility to modify the employee's shift schedule, even without his/her consent; however, the shift schedule must be set 14 days in advance, unless a shorter deadline has been agreed.

The employee refuses to come to work

The Labour Code gives the employee the right to refuse to perform dangerous work. However, the refused work must directly and seriously endanger the employee's life or health, or the life or health of others. The refusal test is thus very strict and will not be fulfilled by the average employee at this point in case of concern about coronavirus infection.

Generally, in such cases, we recommend hearing the employee's concerns and working together to find a solution that will meet their needs. This may include the possibility of working from home, taking leave or providing unpaid leave. Should an employee still refuse to come to work, this is an unexcused absence for which the employee may be penalised.

Of course, there may be more complicated cases that need to be assessed individually (persons with compromised immune system, difficulty breathing, heart disease, diabetes, pregnancy, etc.).

Public transport outage

In the event of an unforeseen outage of public transport, an employee who could not get to the workplace on time has the right to leave without pay.

Children's school closed

The law also explicitly provides for situations where an employee needs to take care of their own child instead of working. It explicitly regulates, for example:

  • closure of the school the child normally attends due to anti-epidemiological measures;
  • quarantine order for a child;
  • quarantine of the person who otherwise takes care of the child.

In such a case, the employer must excuse the employee (parent or person living with the child in a common household) from work and the employee has the right to a care benefit (sickness insurance benefit). The amount of the care benefit per calendar day is 60% of the daily assessment base.

On 26 March 2020, a new law came into effect on the basis of which parents can receive care benefit for the entire period of time during which schools would remain closed as a result of anti-epidemic measures. At the same time, the benefit care is also available for the care of a child under the age of 13 years. Therefore, the age limit of the child was increased from the original 10 years.

The law extended the right to receive the care benefit to self-employed persons. These persons will then be able to apply for a care benefit contribution at the Municipal Trades Licensing Office for the care of a child for which no other person will receive a compensatory contribution. Self-employed will be entitled to a care benefit of CZK 424 per day.

The employee applies for the entitlement to the care benefit due to the closure of the school by means of the application form Application for care benefit for children due to the closure of an educational institution (school), which will be issued in two copies by the school that the child attends. The employee shall complete part B of the form and forward it immediately to the employer, who shall then hand over the documents for payment of the allowance to the relevant District Social Security Administration.

Employees working on the basis of an agreement to perform work or agreement to complete a job are not entitled to the care benefit.

Employee Exchange - temporary assignment

The solution to a situation where the employer does not have a job for their employees may be to conclude a written agreement with his employee on a temporary assignment of the employee to another employer. Such an agreement may be concluded no earlier than 6 months after the date of employment.

During the period of temporary assignment, the employee shall be paid by the employer who has temporarily assigned the employee to another employer.

No remuneration shall be granted for the temporary assignment of employees. This means that the employer to whom the employee has been assigned must not pay remuneration for the assignment of the employee to the employer who provided him with their employee. They can only reimburse them for the 'employee costs' of the employee they have allocated to them - that is, to reimburse them for the wages paid or travel expenses.

Closure of establishment

If the establishment is closed due to anti-epidemiological measures, the situation will be assessed as in the case of a quarantine order (i.e. the employer will pay "sickness benefit" to employees for the first 14 days and the state will pay from day 15). The same applies if the employee cannot come to work because there is a quarantine at the municipality in which the place of work is located.

If the establishment is closed for other reasons, employees will usually be entitled to compensation of 100% of their wages. The employer may consider using options to reduce the financial impact, such as ordering leave, taking compensatory leave or rescheduling shifts.

In the event of a shortage of supply of raw materials, power or similar operational reasons, this will constitute downtime with compensation of 80 % of average earnings.

Wage compensation can even fall to 60 % of earnings. This can happen if the employer is unable to allocate work to the employee in the amount of a week's working hours due to a reduction in the sales of products or demand for employer services. (In order to do so, the employer must issue an internal regulation or, if the employer has a trade union, it must enter into an agreement with the trade union). It is now practical to approach this in order to reduce wage compensation to 60% of average earnings and wait for the legislative situation to evolve. The final decision on how much wage compensation will be can be postponed until the monthly wages are processed.

The government approved the granting of employers' contribution to wage compensation in the event of a reduction in the sales of products or a reduction in demand for employer services, the so-called Kurzarbeit (see below the Antivirus Employment Protection Program - Mode B).

Establishments closed by government decision in an emergency situation are currently prohibited from selling. Other activities may continue in the establishment (cleaning, inventory, construction work). In addition, the company has the right to transfer employees without their consent to other work necessary to avert an extraordinary event. According to a statement from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, employees for whom there is no work for this reason (who are facing "obstacles" to work) are entitled to 100% of their average earnings. However, this conclusion is not unambiguous and, in our opinion, it is possible to consider such a situation as a reduction in demand for services or an anti-epidemiological measure. The state will contribute to wage compensation for employers (see “Antivirus Employment Protection Programme” below Mode A).

Antivirus Employment Protection Programme and support for self-employed

On 31 March 2020 the Czech government approved the Antivirus Programme, which should help employers manage the current situation better and prevent possible dismissal of employees. The Labour Office will provide employers with a full employment or partial unemployment allowance. These are entrepreneurs affected by the spread of the COVID-19 disease. Employers should be compensated for the wages, which continue to be paid to their employees, by a contribution.

The program was launched on 6 April 2020 and deals with the following situations:

Mode A - Forced operation restriction and quarantine

  • For an employee who has been quarantined, (employer pays his wage compensation of 60% of the average reduced earnings for the first 14 days) the employer will receive a state contribution of 80% of the paid wage compensation, including taxes.
  • Employees who cannot be assigned work due to closure of the establishment on the basis of a government order are entitled to a 100% wage compensation, while the employer will again receive a state contribution of 80% of the paid salary, including taxes.
  • The contribution per employee in Mode A will not exceed CZK 39,000.

Mode B - Related economic difficulties (obstacles on the part of the employer due to the spread of coronavirus)

  • If the employer is unable to allocate work to a larger number of employees due to quarantine or childcare, the wage compensation paid to the employees will be 100%.
  • If the employer is unable to allocate work due to unavailability of raw materials, products or services that are necessary for its activity, it is obliged to pay compensation of min. 80% of wages.
  • If the employer is unable to allocate work due to a reduction in demand for services, manufactured goods or other products, employees will still be entitled to a wage compensation of at least 60% (see Closing the establishment above).
  • In these cases, the employer will be able to apply for a contribution of 60% of the paid wage compensation, including taxes, while the amount of the contribution per employee should again be limited to the amount of CZK 29,000.

The employer will only be eligible for Antivirus Programme contributions if the following conditions are met:

  • it is an employer who strictly adheres to the Labour Code;
  • the employee for whom the employer wishes to draw the contribution must not be in a notice period and must not be given a dismissal notice at the time of the wage billing (exceptions to the notice given under Section 52 (g) and (h) of the Labour Code);
  • the employer is a company in the business sphere and the employees are in a main employment relationship and participate in sickness and pension insurance (the contribution cannot be drawn for DPP and DPČ employees);
  • the employer is not in liquidation or bankruptcy;
  • the decision to impose a fine on employers for enabling illegal work has not become final in the previous 3 years;
  • the employer will not for the same purpose, i.e. the part of wage compensation that will be paid from the contribution of the Labor Office of the Czech Republic, claim coverage from funds provided from the state budget, EU programs and projects, or other public sources.
  • the employer duly pays the salary and taxes.

Self-employed persons will also receive support. These persons are particularly affected by the drop in sales, which occurred almost immediately after the introduction of crisis measures, even if they do not have a direct ban on activities.

On 27 March 2020, a law came into force on the basis of which all self-employed will be forgiven mandatory minimum payments of advances for health insurance, pension insurance premiums and contribution to the state employment policy, for a period of 6 months. Specifically, this will be the period from March to August 2020. For self-employed persons who have already paid their advances for the period of March 2020, these payments will be treated as a prepayment for September.

Self-employed persons, who pay more than the minimum amount on advances, still do not have to pay any advances in the period from March to August. In the annual accounts, they only pay back the difference between the minimum advance and the actual amount of premiums according to their 2020 profit.

At the same time, on 14 April 2020 the law became effective on the basis of which the self-employed can receive a compensation bonus in the total amount of 25.000, - CZK for the time period from 12 March to 30 August 2020.

Conditions for qualifying for the compensation bonus:

  • the claimant is a person who was as of 12 March 2020 pursuing the trade as his main business activity or a person who was receiving pension or parental allowance and at the same time was  pursuing the trade as his secondary business activity;
  • self-employed persons were unable to carry on their business, either directly or indirectly, in whole or in part as a result of crisis measures (e.g. closure of establishment, quarantine, duty of child care, restriction of demand for products / services, restriction or termination of supply).

The bill regulating the compensation bonus for self-employed persons has already been approved by the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate will deal with the bill in the coming days.

Newly hired employees

Following the Government Decree of 15 March 2020, a health certificate or assessment of the fitness of newly hired employees may be replaced by an affidavit for the duration of the state of emergency.

At the same time, it is not necessary to perform periodic medical examinations for employees during the emergency period.

All work permits, residence permits and visas issued by 15 March 2020 to persons in an employment relationship with employers providing services under an agency employment agreement shall be extended for a period of 60 days after the end of the state of emergency.


According to the Crisis Act, the State is responsible for damages caused by crisis measures. More information concerning this topic can be found HERE.

In conclusion

Nevertheless, the epidemiological situation may develop rapidly. Employers are advised to keep a cool head and follow the websites of Czech state authorities such as the Government of the Czech Republic,  the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of the Interior, the State Health Institute and the ECDC.

In the event of an emergency situation related to coronavirus, we recommend that further steps and measures be resolved promptly in accordance with our recommendations, and in particular in cooperation with the employee concerned, his/her attending physician and the competent hygiene authority. Only with the participation of these actors will it be possible to effectively prevent the further spread of the epidemic while ensuring the operation of the company.


The same applies if the employee cannot come to work because there is a quarantine at the municipality in which the place of work is located.

For more information contact



Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic