Contact us directly via email, phone or facsimile. If you have a specific legal issue to discuss, please give us a call and our attorneys will be available to assist you.
Several employers in Luxembourg have not waited for the first case of coronavirus to be identified in the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, to take measures to avoid the spreading of the virus within their companies. Considering the geographical and economic situation of Luxembourg, Luxemburgish companies which have any connection with others located in areas declared at risk have to adapt to this health issue.
It seems important to stress two points in this context:
The employer is responsible for the health and safety of its employees in the workplace.
Therefore, the employer must take any and all necessary measures to protect the health of its employees.
First, the employer must remind its employees of the precautions that must be taken in these situations and may in particular refer to the recommendations issued by the Ministry of Health (https://msan.gouvernement.lu/en/dossiers/2020/corona-virus.html), including by displaying within the company the flyer proposed in this respect on the Ministry website.
The employer is also entitled to require from any of its employees that have travelled to a risk area to stay home. The refusal of the employee to follow these instructions can be designated as misconduct which could lead to his or her dismissal. To that extent, if an employee travels to a risk area and returns to work without notifying his or her employer, this can be interpreted as misconduct, whether or not such travel was for professional purposes.
Finally, the employer must, depending on the circumstances, take reasonable measures regarding the employees who are likely to travel to a risk area.
If an employer requires an employee to stay at home, can it ask the employee to work while being in “quarantine”?
This question is more tricky.
It is obvious that, if the employee has a medical certificate, or has asked for days off to justify this “quarantine” period (or if the employee and employer agreed on an unpaid leave), the employee cannot be forced to work during such period.
It is also obvious that the tasks and functions of the employee must be compatible with teleworking. If this is not the case, the employer has no other choice but to exempt his employee from work during such “quarantine” period, which implies that it must continue to pay his or her remuneration during this period.
Where teleworking is compatible with the tasks and functions of the employee, teleworking can normally only take place on a voluntary basis (i.e. it cannot be imposed by either the employer or the employee on the other party). Therefore it is recommended to obtain the employee’s consent. However, in view of the temporary nature of this measure and the exceptional circumstances in which it would be applied, it is reasonable to believe that the employer could validly impose teleworking on reluctant employees. In any event, it is up to the employer to provide its concerned employees with the necessary technical means for such teleworking.
Do not hesitate to remind your employees of the preventive measures to be taken and to disseminate them within your firm. For further queries, do not hesitate to contact us.