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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case SI-2020-45/1482 – measures in Slovenia

Survey of companies about workers, infected in workplaces

Anketa podjetij o obolelih na delovnem mestu

Country Slovenia , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 06 November 2020
Type Other initiatives or policies
Category Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Occupational health and safety
Author Maja Breznik (University of Ljubljana) and Eurofound
Case created 27 November 2020 (updated 11 May 2021)

Background information

On 16 October 2020, the Slovenian government issued Ordinance on the declaration of the COVID-19 epidemic in the territory of the Republic of Slovenia . The closure of some sectors (hospitality and restaurants, retail except shops selling essential goods) and the recommendation for employees to work at home have not brought about the diminution in new infections. The unfavourable outcome raises concerns about the health and safety measures in companies. It is questioned how much the continued operation of the industry contributes to the spread of infections. For answering this question, The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia (GZS) organised the survey of 50 companies about the health and safety at the workplace. On the other hand, the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) made a survey of infected persons

Content of measure

Gospodarska zbornica Slovenije (The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, GZS) organised a quick survey of companies. On the ground of survey results, GZS reports that 0.8% of employees are absent from work due to COVID-19 infection and about 2% for other reasons (either the closure of schools or quarantine). According to GZS, the figures show that the spread of the virus is under control in the workplaces and that employers observe the safety rules recommended by experts for occupational medicine, the Ministry of Health and the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ). The employer organisation thus pleads the government not to close down the industry and risk more economic damage than necessary.

In contrast to GZS, dr. Žiga Zaplotnik (COVID-19 Tracker Slovenia, established by volunteering scientists) has proved that people have much more diverse contacts at work than in other social environments (household, school, leisure and the like), so for him the risk of infection is proportionally higher in workplaces. Moreover, The National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) surveyed 10,205 persons who tested positive for COVID-19. Among them, the largest share got infected in the workplace (every fourth participant in the survey). The average age of infected persons (between 45 and 54) supports this survey outcome. While slightly less than a quarter cannot say the location, more than 20% got infected in household and 15% in care homes or centres for people with disabilities.

Newspaper Dnevnik wrote that 10% of persons surveyed continued to go to work despite having one of the coronavirus symptoms and 10% more although they were in high-risk contacts. Workers are afraid of losing their jobs, but this is not the main reason. Journal Mladina wrote that the Ministry of Health practically stopped tracing contacts and issuing quarantine decisions because of the lack of personnel. The second reason is that employer must cover 100% sick leave for persons who got infected in the workplace. Still, the worker must first prove it in a procedure similar to the ‘accident at the workplace’ procedure. In this procedure, the worker cannot be successful without employers’ consent. For instance, even health care workers who had worked with COVID-19 patients could not prove it. It was said that even if they had got infected in the workplace, it was due to their negligence.

Use of measure

In the second wave of the epidemic, many more persons continue to go to work compared to the first one, notwithstanding a much higher number of infections. It is estimated that during the first wave of epidemic in Spring 2020, only about 30% of employees worked at their workplace. During the second wave, the proportion is turned upside down: 30% work at home and 70% at their workplaces.

Journal Mladina gives exact numbers on issuing quarantine decisions. In September, authorities issued about 6,000 quarantine decisions a month. Since 1 October, when the number of infections was extraordinarily growing, the number dropped to about 1,400 a month.

A website Mešanec has started to collect testimonies of workers about health and safety at work.

Contents

  • Health and safety

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Employers' organisations
Company / Companies
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: N/A

Involvement

No involvement.

Views and reactions

No information available.

Sources

  • 10 November 2020: GZS, Sporočilo za javnost [Press Release] (www.gzs.si)
  • 12 November 2020: COVID-19 Tracker Slovenia, Kako lahko znanost pomaga odločevalcem? [How can science help policymakers? (medium.com)
  • 25 November 2020: MMC RTVSLO, Zakaj še vedno toliko okužb? [Why are there still so many infections? (www.rtvslo.si)
  • 27 November 2020: Borut Mekina, ‘Zakaj ukrepi ne delujejo?’ [Why measures do not work?], Mladin (www.mladina.si)
  • 28 November 2020: Igor Dernovšek in Tomaž Klipšteter, ‘Podjetja so postala največja žarišča’ [Businesses have become the biggest hotspots], Dnevni (www.dnevnik.si)

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Survey of companies about workers, infected in workplaces, case SI-2020-45/1482 (measures in Slovenia), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.