On 23 June 2022 the Health Minister announced the lifting of Covid restrictions. Many employers take from this that they are no longer obligated to implement measures to protect people at the workplace from contracting Covid. Are they correct? If not, what obligations do employers have in this regard?
The employer is entirely incorrect. The minister of labour published his own set of regulations. These are quite onerous and very similar to the ones used during the lockdown. There is still a need for a risk assessment. There is also a still a need to adhere to the Health and safety regulations.
Despite the upliftment of Covid restrictions, same does not remove the employer’s obligation to ensure health and safety of employees in the workplace. The employer still has the responsibility to provide a safe working environment. Therefore, the employer still needs to protect employees at the workplace from any risk that may arise from Covid. The upliftment of restrictions does not necessarily mean that Covid does not exist. It is for the aforementioned reason that some employers can still implement and/or retain their policy which require employees to wear masks – that is a safety measure.