COVID-19: RETURN TO OFFICE WORK IN UKRAINE

As Ukraine is gradually relaxing the quarantine restrictions and reopening the national economy, local businesses are returning to their usual working routine. In particular, office employees previously transferred to a remote working mode at home are coming back to their offices. In this context, it is essential to be fully aware of and comply with the remaining quarantine regulations in order to ensure a safe working environment in the office and avoid potential liability.


General

The Ukrainian Government has never prohibited to work in the office during the quarantine or thereafter. It only recommended making use of a remote working mode as much as possible. Nevertheless, most office businesses followed these recommendations and made their employees work remotely. Now that the most severe restrictions have been lifted and public transit resumed its operation, businesses are recalling their employees back to offices. At the same time, employers allowing a return to office work are advised to complete an adequate risk assessment and implement the required measures.

In Ukraine, most of the mandatory Covid-19 related regulations are provided at the local level (in particular, in Kyiv), while the Government has largely given only nationwide recommendations.


Vulnerable employees

Although individuals aged 60 and older (regardless of medical condition) are considered vulnerable and might present a greater risk than others in terms of (i) their susceptibility to contracting Covid-19; and (ii) the likelihood of them developing severe illness if they contract Covid-19, there is no prohibition to such employees to return to the office.


Social distancing

  • There are only general recommendations on the national level to ensure social distancing of 1.5 metres between (i) employees, and (ii) employees and clients (visitors).

  • Employers are also advised to manage occupancy levels or the use of fixed teams on a rotating basis to minimize contacts.

For companies operating in Kyiv, there are mandatory local restrictions in place:

  • A distance of 1.5 metres shall be maintained in the office at all times.

  • There shall be no more than one employee per 10 square metres of the office area.

Internal meetings

  • All meetings should take place remotely where possible.

  • In case personal meetings are necessary, all participants should keep a safe distance of 1.5 metres and wear masks.

  • Each meeting room must be equipped with hand sanitizers (minimum 70% of alcohol).

  • Use of common spaces (such as lounge rooms) should be restricted.

External meetings/visitors

  • The same guidance applies that meetings with external visitors (customers, clients) should take place in exceptional cases (if a personal meeting is absolutely necessary).

  • Visual examination of visitors is recommended (such as temperature screening, check for other symptoms of respiratory disease). Visitors may be denied entrance to the office in case they have symptoms of respiratory infection.

  • For employees who serve visitors, it is recommended to install safety screens.

  • Visitors should be informed on social distancing and hygiene requirements.

For companies operating in Kyiv, there are mandatory local restrictions in place:

  • External visitors are allowed only by appointment in advance.

  • Visitors shall not meet each other. A 15-minute interval between visitors shall be maintained.

  • There shall be only one visitor per 10 square metres of the office area.

  • Visitors shall wear masks all the time.

  • Each office entrance for visitors shall be equipped with hand sanitizers (minimum 70% of alcohol).

  • Magazines, advertising and other paper materials shall not be available to visitors.

  • All contact surfaces (tables, handles) shall be disinfected after each visitor.

Mask wearing

  • There is a general recommendation for everyone to wear masks outside their homes.

  • However, people are obliged to wear masks in “public” places, including parks, public transport, public transport stops, governmental and medical buildings, common areas in office buildings.

  • A person without a mask may be denied entrance to an office building.

  • All employees are advised to wear facemasks also at their workstations.

For companies operating in Kyiv, there are mandatory local restrictions in place:

  • An employer shall provide each employee with masks, considering one mask per three working hours.

  • Employers shall have enough masks in stock to cover the next 5-day period.

  • Only employees wearing facemasks are allowed to enter office buildings.

  • Employers shall organize proper collection and utilization of used masks.

Temperature screening

  • Temperature screening is recommended at the national level.

For companies operating in Kyiv, there are local mandatory restrictions in place:

  • Each employee shall pass daily temperature screening before starting his work and after the end of a working day. An employer shall keep records of temperature screening for all employees.

  • All persons with a body temperature of 37.5 Celsius or higher shall be suspended from work and referred to a local medical centre for further diagnostics.

  • All external visitors shall pass a visual examination for respiratory disease. In case of any symptoms, they shall pass a mandatory temperature screening.

  • The data protection impact of temperature screening has to be duly addressed since employers keep respective records. In particular, employees' written consent needs to be obtained and a formal notification submitted to the Parliamentary Commissioner (since sensitive data on employees’ health are collected and processed).

Testing

Testing for COVID-19 is not required for the return of an employee to the office after working remotely. The effective legislation does not allow or empower employers to request or oblige their employees to undergo testing for COVID-19 or to provide valid results of such tests. In any case, such testing is voluntary and possible only with an employee’s explicit consent.


Reporting to the authorities

There is no express nation-wide obligation of employers to report cases of the COVID-19 infection to authorities. The situation is different in Kyiv, where employers, based on local regulations, are required to immediately report to medical institutions any cases of employees displaying signs of respiratory infectious illness. In particular, the employer may call emergency medical care (103) or special hotlines for coronavirus treatment in different regions, for example in Kyiv 1583, 0 800 505 201, 044 278 41 91.


Download PDF here




















This publication is for informational purposes only. If you would like to learn more or seek legal advice, please contact one of the following or your usual Nobles contact: Volodymyr Yakubovskyy (Partner), Denys Vergeles (Counsel), Vasyl Fedorenko (Managing Associate).

0 views
  • Facebook Clean
  • LinkedIn Clean

© 2020 by Nobles. 

Nobles is a full-service corporate law firm that advises public and private companies, banks, financial institutions, private equity firms, funds, investment banks, government entities and private high-net individuals in multiple industrial sectors and practice areas of Ukrainian and international business law. The firm's main practice areas are antitrust & merger control, banking & finance, corporatedistribution and franchising, mergers & acquisitions, employment, insolvency and restructuring, intellectual property, litigation & dispute resolution, real estate & land lawtax.