3 legal matters when dealing with pandemic scenarios
10 March 2020
In the latest weeks, the entire Romanian business environment witnessed the increase in the number and spreading of the COVID-19 infections. After the confirmation of the first cases in Romania, we prepared a brief Q&A on the impact of the virus on your business.
We trust you shall our answers useful and are ready to assist in case you need more customized advice.
1. What can I do if my contractors invoke Coronavirus?
There is an important question to be further answered, depending on the actual situation at the moment of the assessment, whether Coronavirus may be qualified as a force majeure/act of God event or not. Under most contracts such events exonerate the parties from the performance of their obligations for the period of time in which they were hindered by the relevant event.
Nonetheless, the force majeure invoked by one of your suppliers does not necessarily exonerate you from the obligation to perform your contractual obligations towards your clients. The specific contracts are to be analyzed in order to identify specific remedies and to avoid penalties and other contractual measures.
2. Is there a risk for my facility to be subject to closure?
In case of an epidemiological risk, the competent authorities may impose special measures for the patients and suspects, as well as measures to limit the movement of persons. Hence, there is a possibility that, depending on the specific circumstances, the Romanian authorities adopt more specific measures. For example, in 2009, during the pandemic A/H1N1 virus, the Romanian Government issued a decision (GD no. 826/2009) for the approval of the gradual intersectoral framework plan for combating the effects of the pandemic A / H1N1 virus.
3. What measures should I take?
Order no. 313/2020 sets forth the measure of quarantine by self – isolation at home for certain categories of persons. For example, an employee having quarantined family members subject to self-isolation must, at his/her turn, isolate himself/herself and shall be entitled to medical leave.
If an employee does not meet the conditions to receive medical leave or quarantine leave, but you have reasonable grounds to believe that he/she could be at risk of contracting the virus, an option that could be explored is work from home or telework. To such end, several documents need to be prepared (e.g. telework policy, addendum to the employment agreement).
Our recommendation is for particular attention to be paid by your HR department in the handling of the relations with the employees.
Contact us for further assistance.