The Federal Cabinet has approved the extension and amendment of the Corona Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance. Basic tried and tested occupational safety measures will be retained - such as the obligation to offer free COVID-19 testing and the rules concerning social distancing, following the basic rules of good hygiene, wearing a face covering as well as ventilation. But some new rules will also be added. In future, employers will have to allow their employees time off during work hours to get a COVID-19 vaccination. The Ordinance will enter into force on 10 September and will apply up to and including 26 November of this year, linked to the duration of the pandemic situation. However, the Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance does not provide employers with the right to obtain information on the vaccination status of their employees. The following article provides a brief overview of the main points of the new provisions.
The obligation of employers to inform employees about the risks of the COVID-19 disease and about existing vaccination options is a new addition to the Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance. If company doctors carry out in-house vaccinations, they are to be supported in terms of organisation and personnel.
In addition, the employer must allow employees to be vaccinated during work hours. They must be released from their work duties during this time.
Even though the Ordinance does not explicitly state whether this leave is paid or unpaid, the likely meaning of the regulation is that this is time off during which the employer must pay remuneration for the work that is not performed. However, the question of whether such a remuneration obligation can be effectively regulated within the framework of a simple ordinance is already being hotly debated by legal experts just a few short days after the Ordinance entered into force.