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17 January 2022

Testing in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

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Source: Weinhold Legal, Legal Alert in the field of labour law (7 January 2022)

On January 5, 2022, the government approved the issuance of an emergency measure by the Ministry of Health, which introduces new rules for testing for the presence of COVID-19 in employees, self-employed persons, and now also in members of legal persons and prisoners, effective January 17, 2022. Testing applies to vaccinated and also to unvaccinated employees. The reason for the reintroduction of testing is the continued dominance of the delta variant and the accelerating rate of spread of the omicron variant.

Frequency of testing

Employers will be required to ensure that their employees are regularly tested in the workplace by performing a rapid antigen test (RAT) designed for self-testing at a frequency of twice a week, with the next test taking place no earlier than the third day after the previous one. If the employee is not present at the workplace on the date of the testing date, testing shall be performed on the day of his/her arrival at the workplace.

Range of persons concerned

Preventive testing is also ordered for self-employed persons and persons who are an organ or member of an organ of a legal person and are not also employees of that legal person. The rules for testing these persons are similar to those for testing employees.

Exemptions from testing

All employees are required to undergo preventive testing with the exception of:

  • employees who, because of the nature of their work, do not meet third parties in their workplace, other than those living in the same household,
  • employees who do not perform work at the workplace;
  • persons who have had a negative PCR test within the last 72 hours;
  • persons who have undergone a negative antigen test within the last 24 hours by a medical practitioner; and
  • employees who have undergone preventive testing with another employer of which they are employees.

The employee must provide proof of a negative test result to the employer by means of an EU COVID digital certificate, or a certificate issued by a health care provider, or written confirmation from the employer.

Refusal of testing

If an employee refuses to take a preventive test, the employer must notify the local hygiene station. Furthermore, an employee who re-fuses to take the test shall be ordered to wear a respirator at all times when present in the workplace, to keep at least 1,5 m distance apart from other persons, if this is possible due to the nature of the work, and to eat separately from others.

Registration and notification obligations

The emergency measure also orders employers, self-employed per-sons and legal entities that provide testing for their members to:

  • keep a record of the tests carried out, including: the date of testing, the names and surnames of the persons who underwent the test on that date, including their date of birth, their insurance number and the name of the health insurance company with which they are insured, and the results of the tests. This record is to be retained for 90 days; and
  • send a list of persons with a positive test result to the locally competent hygiene station in the form of an electronic report, together with the data recorded in the register of tests carried out (see above) and the contact telephone number of the per-son tested, no later than the day following the test.

Obligations in case of a positive result

In the event of a positive antigen test result, the employee must:

  • notify the employer of a planned absence from the workplace,
  • must then leave the workplace and
  • provide assistance to the hygiene station, which shall order quarantine for a period of five days from the date of the test. Until the quarantine is ordered, the employee shall wear a respirator and avoid contact with other people if possible, but no longer than five days from the date of the test.

Termination of quarantine

In the event that persons who test positive for the antigen test subsequently undergo a PCR test with a negative result, the quarantine shall be terminated by the hygienic station.

On the first day that persons are present at the workplace or place of work after the end of the quarantine, they must undergo an antigen test.

The full text of the emergency measure is available here.

Testing allowances of up to CZK 60 per test per employee (the number of tests paid for per month is not yet clear) can be applied for through the COVID-19 self-testing support programme on the website https://www.samotesty-covid.cz/. You can find more detailed conditions for the grant on these pages.

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