EY: Responding to COVID-19

Questions & Answers

17 March 2020

Below is a list of the most common questions we, at Ernst and Young Law Partnership continue to receive over the past 10 days in relation to COVID – 19 and its implications on employees and employment relations. The answers are up-to-date as of 17 March 2020. We note that there are currently two bills* pending with the Bulgarian parliament for approval which may change some of the answers.

The questions and answers below are general and do not consider any specifics. They cannot be relied upon to replace an advice to address all facts related to a certain issue. Thus, each case shall be assessed individually, and the below overview may only be used as general information.

Question 1. Does the employer have any right to refuse office access to an employee?

Under the Labor Code the employer is responsible for making sure that the employee can perform his/her working obligations.
However, an employer shall not grant access to the office to a sick or a quarantined employee.

On the other hand, the employer shall procure healthy and safe working conditions. To the extent that an employee may increase the risks for the other employees, the employer is entitled to take the necessary measures to procure healthy and safe working environment. In such case, in particular, when the refusal is based on suspicions and such suspicions prove to be wrong, the employer may be subject to payment of a compensation to the employеe in lieu of the employee’s remuneration.

Question 2. Is there a risk for the employer to be subject to any liability in case the employer has sent all employees home?

Yes, to the extent that the employer is responsible for keeping the employees occupied. However, to the extent that all compensation obligations due to the employee are covered (i.e. the employee has received a compensation equal to the employees remuneration for the respective period) the risk of such claims is very limited.