The Health Ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour issued on Thursday a number of guidelines for those employees that will go back to work in Phases One and Two of the gradual lifting of Coronavirus measures.
Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou also assured in a press conference that parents will continue receiving their allowance after the lifting of restrictions and so will businesses that will reopen.
According to a Health Ministry announcement, the guides concern:
- Instructions for dealing with Covid-19 in the workplace
- Guide for Health and Safety in the workplace in a Coronavirus environment – General instructions for businesses except for the healthcare sector
- Guide for Health and Safety in the workplace in a Coronavirus environment – General instructions for the protection of employees in businesses
- Protective measures for Covid-19 for superiors in food businesses
- Take away / delivery guide
- Protective measures for Covid-19 for public markets
- Protective measures for small retail businesses
- Health and Safety at building sites and instructions for the protection of workers
- Instructions for prevention in schools
Speaking during a joint press conference on Thursday morning with the Ministers of Finance and Health, Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou said that around 25,000 retail shops are due to open on Monday and a team has been put together by the Labour Inspection Department that will monitor adherence to measures by businesses, adding that those not in compliance are breaking the law and are subject to fines.
“Our aim is to inspect all the building sites and retail shops to ensure that these measures are adhered to,” Emilianidou said.
Asked about her ministry’s support plans for workers, she attributed delays to payments for many beneficiaries to increased workload and problems brought about by the mass electronic applications submitted on the ministry’s system as well as to mistakes on forms and lack of contributions by some employees for the year 2018.
“For the allowances corresponding to the period up to April 12, we had to process within a short period all those applications submitted electronically for the first time on one single system,” Emilianidou said, adding that “enormous efforts” are in progress to resolve technical issues.
She also assured that businesses that will reopen may continue receiving their allowance for part suspension of operations given that their turnover remains below 25%, adding that those which will not sufficiently recover by June 12 will be entitled to another four months of support thereafter.
Asked whether salary reductions are allowed by employers, she said that if the employee is working full-time employers are obligated to pay full salary but businesses operating less have the right to reduce the working hours of the employee and pay them accordingly. But she said it is against the law for a business that has registered for a Covid support scheme to pay a full-time employee less than their full salary.
As regards tourist agencies that are able to reopen, the Minister said that they can continue being part of the full suspension of operations scheme, mentioning that the Cabinet decided that any tourism-related activities can continue being part of the full suspension scheme if the reduction of their turnover is over 80%.
She also mentioned that supermarkets will reopen again on Sundays with the gradual lifting of measures in the week starting May 4.
Asked whether there was a spike in employees who have been let go after March 16, Emilianidou replied in the negative saying that very few were fired.
Pictured: The Minister of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance, Zeta Emilianidou gives a joint Press conference with the Minister of Finance Constantinos Petrides and the Minister of Health Constantinos Ioannou, providing details about the Ministerial Councilʼs Decision to gradually lift Coronavirus measures at the Ministry of Finance, Nicosia, Cyprus