How to arrange work from home at the time of coronavirus spread

03 March, 2020

A smart solution to ensure smooth business operation and a continuous workflow, as well as one of the ways to limit the spread of coronavirus, is to arrange work from home, away from the employer's premises.

The possibility of working from home must be envisaged in the employment agreement itself. In case the existing employment agreement lacks such a provision, a new agreement must be concluded. The annex to the employment agreement would not suffice as specifying the place of work is an essential component of the agreement and can therefore be changed only with the new agreement. The employer must also adjust his existing general act (Job Classification Act), which defines the organization of work and states the obligations of employees, accordingly.

In case of arranging this type of work, the employer must draw up a safety statement with risk assessment of the workplaces, as he is obliged to ensure safe working conditions in case of working from home. Drawing up a safety statement with risk assessment also requires a direct inspection of the premises.

Furthermore, it is necessary to notify the Labour Inspectorate of the intended introduction of this type of work. The inspectors are authorised to carry out inspection and verify if work from home is carried out in accordance with the legislation. If such work is harmful for employees’ health or to the living and working environment, the inspectors can forbid it.

In case the work is arranged as work from home, the employees are entitled to the compensation for the use of their resources and for meal reimbursement.

In the event of the occurrence of coronavirus in Slovenia, it would be very difficult to meet all the described conditions in such a short time, therefore it is advisable that the employers start complying with the above in advance. However, should the coronavirus spread lead to an emergency situation, which would call for exceptional circumstances, as are stipulated in the Article 169 of the Employment Relationships Act, employers could change the type of work or place of employment for the duration of such circumstances regardless of the provisions of the employment agreement and also without the consent of the employee.