Mandatory employee testing even for small companies, the government decides

From 26 March 2021 at the latest, small companies employing at least ten persons will also have to participate in the mandatory testing of employees. The relevant extraordinary measure of the Ministry of Health was approved on 15 March 2021 by Andrej Babiš’s government.

As of 26 March 2021, employers with more than ten employees will join large and medium-sized companies, who are already obliged by the Ministry of Health to carry out regular comprehensive testing due to the bad coronavirus situation. Small employers will be obliged to provide antigen tests from 17 March 2021 and to invite their employees to get tested by 19 March 2021 at the latest. Employees will be required to undergo the testing. As with large and medium-sized companies, the testing will be mandatory on a weekly basis, with the exception of persons who are fully vaccinated or have demonstrably went through Covid-19 in the last 90 days.

The government also approved a bill on compensation for persons providing paid health services, taking into account the effects of the Covid-19 epidemic in 2021. This legal norm, which the Parliament wants to pass in a fast-track procedure, will make it possible to reimburse healthcare facilities and social service providers who provide health services for the increased costs they incurred while caring for patients with Covid-19; it will also allow for reimbursement of losses caused by the ordered postponement of routine non-acute patient care.

The Ministry of Health estimates the shortfall in revenues and expenditures in the hospital segment alone at CZK 3.2 billion for each month of the pandemic. The current reimbursement decree did not take into account such a fluctuation in funding, and without State intervention, healthcare facilities would run into significant economic difficulties, which could jeopardise the availability of paid healthcare services for patients. Therefore, the government wants to resolve the situation in a systematic manner and oblige health insurance companies to provide compensations for these increased costs by law.

The government also became acquainted with the information of the Minister of Health on the progress of the vaccination campaign. Based on available data, by 12 March 2012, 1,379,750 doses of vaccines were delivered to the Czech Republic, 999,395 individual doses were administered, while almost 300,000 persons already received the second dose. 94 percent of the available doses were used, with the exception of the last deliveries, which could not yet have been distributed to the individual vaccination sites.

The government also agreed on several partial amendments to the anti-epidemic measures in force. It has added mayors of municipalities to the list of parents whose children the municipalities must provide with school or pre-school care; minor adjustments will also be made from 19 March 2021 to the measures restricting entry into the Czech Republic.

The Ministers also approved the granting of an investment incentive for ŠKODA ELECTRIC, a.s. The company wants to invest CZK 244.4 million in Pilsen to expand the production of traction motors and drives of trolleybuses and electric buses and to create ninety new jobs from 1 January 2021. The government has agreed to provide an investment incentive in the form of an income tax rebate. The public support will amount to 25 percent of the eligible costs, i.e. CZK 61.1 million.

The government also discussed a parliamentary draft amendment to the Education Act which seeks to adjust the framework educational programmes for secondary education so that the last half of secondary education in fields of education completed by the Matura examination would focus on subjects of the Matura examination. The Ministers took a neutral position on the draft amendment, recommending that several changes be made to the submitted version.