In the wake of the recent COVID-19 outbreak, the Faroese Ministry of Finance has released a set of guidelines concerning the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees working in the public sector. The guidelines are as follows:
- If an employee has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the normal rules regarding sick leave apply, hence the employee has a right to paid sick leave.
- If an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19, it is the responsibility of the employer to contact the chief medical officer, who will then assess the situation and decide whether or not there is a need for other employees to be quarantined.
- When health authorities require an employee to stay quarantined at home, the employee in question has a right to paid sick leave during this time. If the employee hasn’t been formally diagnosed, the employer should, if possible, require the employee to work from home – this also applies, if an employee has been diagnosed but shows no symptoms.
- If an employee wants to enter voluntary quarantine, the employee should contact the chief medical officer to figure out, if quarantine is really necessary. If it is deemed unnecessary, it is up to the employer to assess the situation regarding pay and leave.
- If an employee has been abroad and is unable to return to work due to travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the employee has a right to payment during their absence.
- If an employee refuses to perform a certain task due to the danger of contamination, it is up to the employer to assess the situation and, if necessary, consult the chief medical officer.
- If an employee chooses to travel to a destination that the Foreign Ministry has advised people against travelling to, they are responsible for the consequences. An employer cannot order an employee not to travel to destinations that are deemed “high risk”. If an employee travels to an area where the risk of contracting COVID-19 are high, and they end up getting sick, said employee has a right to unpaid sick leave. The same applies, if the health authorities require the employee to stay in quarantine.
- An employee does not have the right to reschedule their vacation due to COVID-19, however, if possible, it can be arranged with the employer.
- An employee is still required to go to work, even if schools or daycares are closed due to COVID-19. If an employee has to stay home to care for their children, they do not have the right to paid leave. However, employer and employee are advised to work out a solution, if the employee ends up having to stay home for this reason.