The Government has imposed the work obligation on pupils and students of medical schools, testing will be mandatory for employees in the public sector

From Monday 8 March, the work obligation is imposed on pupils and students of medical faculties and medical schools who have reached the age of 18. The Government approved the crisis measure, which will enable regional governors and the mayor of Prague to use them for work in medical facilities, at an extraordinary meeting on Friday 5 March 2021. At the same time, the Cabinet also decided to start mandatory blanket testing of employees of public employers.

From Monday 8 March, the work obligation will apply to pupils and students of the fourth and fifth year of full-time study of general medicine at medical faculties of public universities; students of all years, with the exception of the last year, of daily or full-time form of bachelor’s and five-year master’s degree programmes at a university or fields of education at a higher vocational school; third and fourth year students of the daily studies at a secondary medical school preparing for a paramedical profession under the Act on the Recognition of Paramedical Professions and of a bachelor’s or five-year master’s programme in single-subject Psychology, with the exception of the last year and all years of the full-time form of medical master’s degree programmes following the medical bachelor’s programme and the master’s programme in single-subject Psychology following the bachelor’s programme. The only exception will be the students who can prove that they already work for a health care provider that provides acute inpatient care to patients with covid-19.

An extraordinary measure of the Ministry of Health, the issuance of which was approved by the Government, will start the mandatory testing of employees in the public sector as of 10 March. From Wednesday 17 March, untested employees of state authorities and institutions, territorial self-governing units and companies established or founded by them, public universities, service offices, state security forces and armed forces may not be admitted to the workplace. The obligation applies to employers who employ at least 50 people. Those who employ less than 50 people can decide to introduce testing. For the time being, the obligation will not apply to schools and school facilities under the Education Act, as well as to all employees working at the home office.

The Cabinet also addressed the possibility of further expanding the home office in effort to minimise the mobility of citizens. “We discussed this with all the ministers and state that our departments are trying to make the most of the home office. This means that, according to individual ministers, 15 to 20 percent of employees are in the workplace. This is important, of course. The Government has instructed me to call on all employers’ associations to do their utmost to ensure that their employees use the home office,” said Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.

The Government also discussed several partial changes in extraordinary measures of the Ministry of Health. A fundamental change is the exemption from the obligation of regular testing for all employees and other persons (for example, clients in social services) who have demonstrably suffered covid-19 in the last 90 days or have been completely vaccinated. On the contrary, from Tuesday 9 March, the obligation to pass the compulsory test in the last seven days before entering the workplace will also apply to agency workers and other persons who, on the basis of a legal relationship other than an employment relationship, perform work or similar activities at the employer’s workplace together with its employees. Employers who provide antigenic self-tests for their employees will be required to keep records of tests performed on employees by the same date.

In connection with the launch of blanket testing in the public sector, the Government has also decided to release one million tests from the state reserves of the Ministry of the Interior for the needs of state organisational units and state-subsidised organisations.