Business to reopen under specific guidelines and increased inspections, says Minister of Labor


The Ministry of Labor has prepared instructions for both businesses and employees, to be implemented during the reopening of businesses, the Minister of Labor, Welfare and Social Insurance Zeta Εmilianidou said during a press conference to explain the gradual lifting the restrictive measures due to COVID-19.
Emilianidou said that the Ministry, after listening to the social partners, issued specific guidelines which can be found on the website of the Department of Labor Inspection, including all the guidelines that businesses must follow to protect their employees and to ensure health and safety amid COVID-19 conditions.
In addition, she said, a brochure has been issued to give employees simple advices on the protection measures they should follow. This brochure will be published in 10,000 copies and has been translated into five languages.
A guide has been issued for the 25,000 retail stores to be inspected concerning measures to be followed. As the Minister said, a team has been set up by the Department of Labor Inspection and other government departments, which will begin training tomorrow to be able to inspect compliance with these measures.
“The most important thing is to adhere to these safety and health measures, not just the general ones that have always been in force, but the specific ones that deal with coronavirus conditions,” she said.
She added that in case the companies don’t comply with these measures there will be a fine according to the law and the decrees of the Ministry of Health.
“Our goal is to inspect all these construction sites and retail stores, so that we can make sure that the measures are followed,” she said.
Asked on the delay of benefit payments in accordance to the Ministry’s schemes for COVID-19, she said that before Easter 140,000 employees received their allowances. However, as the Minister said, some benefits are still being processed, due to errors when submitting the on-line applications, while in some cases there are problems with the account numbers in the banks. She also added that the ministry needed to make adjustments and improve some of the plans.
The ministry`s plans, she said, will continue to be in place for three months until 12/6/2020 while for another four months, there will be state support for businesses that will not recover and will have a reduction in their turnover.
She also that Special Leave Benefit granted to working parents responsible for the care of children up to 15 years old or/and children with special needs regardless of age, will continue.
Regarding travel agencies, she said that the Cabinet has decided that any activities related to tourism can continue to be part of the total work suspension plan, if the reduction in their turnover is more than 80%.
She also said that retail stores could continue to benefit from the partially work suspension plan if their turnover is reduced by more than 25%.
Asked about unemployment, she said there have been very few layoffs of employees since March 16. She expressed the belief that with the plans of the Ministry of Labor, but also with other measures included in the package prepared by the Ministry of Finance, the dismissals of employees will be avoided.

Source: CNA