Vaccination and employment challenges

The global pandemic has brought a number of new challenges in business and in the regulation of employment in general. Unfortunately, without the support of the legislator and the change of labor regulations, employers were adrift in the organization of work in the new circumstances. Employees were, in accordance with the recommendations of the Civil Protection Headquarters, referred by employers to work from home, where possible, although they did not have the conditions.

The moment vaccination became available to the general population, the question has arisen as to what this means for employment. Since there is no prescribed obligation to vaccinate, each individual makes a decision for himself, and that decision should not in any way affect his employment status.

In accordance with Art. 24 of the Labor Act, when concluding an employment contract and during the employment, the employee is obliged to inform the employer about any illness or other circumstance that prevents or significantly interferes with the fulfillment of obligations arising from the employment contract or endangers the life or health of persons with whom the employee comes in contact during the performance of the employment contract. During the process of selecting a candidate for a job and concluding an employment contract, as well as during the duration of the employment, the employer may not ask the employee for information that is not directly related to the employment.

The information on whether an employee has been vaccinated against COVID-19 is not directly related to the employment, nor is the information on whether he has been vaccinated against measles and the employer should not request such data from the employee as well as collect or process it. The employee, on the other hand, is not obliged to inform the employer that he has been vaccinated because it is not a circumstance that would affect his performance of obligations arising from the employment contract.

Although some employers have joined the incentive vaccination campaign by organizing vaccination of employees or offering a day off if they are vaccinated, it is important to note that above is only an option and not an obligation for the employee. Moreover, placing employees who have not been vaccinated at a disadvantaged position comparing to those who have could be considered as a discrimination.