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Can the coronavirus affect your job? Here are the answers

The coronavirus is spreading and so is confusion. What happens if you are cabin crew member or a pilot and become affected by quarantine or infected? The lawyers from Min A-kasse and FPU give you the answers.

Our telephone is open from 9-15 monday through friday.

You are welcome to call us, if you can’t fin the answers in the FAQ below.

Updated (28th of May):

This FAQ consists of three sections:

  • Duty and travel recommendations
  • Infection and quarantine
  • Temporary agreements and political agreements

First of all, we recommend that you stay updated on a regular basis at the website of the Danish Health and Medicines Authority  where you can read about the general recommendations and requests. And here you can read the Travel recommendation of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs here. And her you can read about measures to prevent COVID19 if you are still working

– Can I say no to work?

If your employer asks you to travel, you can say no if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs travel guide discourages all sorts of travel to the country (the red areas) – otherwise not.

Travel to other areas (the orange areas) is not recommended by the Foreign Ministry if they are “not necessary”. It will always be a concrete assessment of whether a journey is necessary.  A pilot’s or cabin crew’s work cannot automatically be described as a “non-necessary journey” and you are therefore generally required to complete the journey.

However, you can get a medical certificate if for some reason your health is fragile, and you are at extra risk.

– What if I’m on a business trip (or staying in another country between flights?)

If you have been on a business trip and are quarantined thereafter, either by the authorities or by your employer, your employer must pay your salary during the quarantine. If you become infected in connection with your work and then quarantined, your employer must pay your salary. It is important to note that traversing a risk area does not necessarily entail a need for quarantine.

– What happens if I can’t get home from a vacation due to canceled flights or the like?

You will be legally due and unable to be terminated, but you cannot expect to receive any wages or other benefits during your absence. If you have traveled to one of the countries where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised you not to travel to at the time of departure, you could risk being terminated or expelled.

– Am I at risk if I have been in transit at an airport in a risk area?

No, if you have been in transit for less than 12 hours, then the health authorities do not consider that special precautions are needed unless, of course, you have been in concrete contact with someone who has symptoms of Corona virus.

I am a Swede and work in Denmark, what does the border closure mean to me?

It must be considered legitimate to have to go to work I Denmark. But you should expect extra queues.

What about my rating, medical and certificate?

EASA has announced to all the Member States, that during the crisis there will be an extension of the validity period for all the above for all crews.

Infection and quarantine

Are there any general guidelines for aviation officials in the EU to prevent the spread of infection?

Yes, EASA has made guidelines you can read them here.

– Who can risk being quarantined?

At present, no direct quarantine order has been issued by the Danish authorities to travelers who have been in some of the most affected areas (see the list of areas in the link above). The Foreign Ministry has only encouraged returning travelers from the affected areas to stay home for 14 days. Thus, it is (yet) up to the individual whether they want to go to work and thus continue to receive wages. However, it is strongly advised that returning travelers who have visited the affected areas inform their employers of the journey and follow the recommendations of the authorities. The employer may then choose to suspend the returned employee for fear of spreading infection to the other employees, but this does not entail wage loss for the suspended employee. The suspension can and should be limited in time, to 14 days.

– When does the National Board of Health recommend that you stay home for 2 weeks?

The National Board of Health recommends staying home for two weeks if you, after March 2, 2020, come to Denmark from one of the special risk areas to which all travel is not advised because of coronavirus / COVID-19. These areas are marked in red in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ travel guides (we advise against all travel).

The National Board of Health does not recommend staying home if you come from an area marked in yellow by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (be extra careful) or orange (unnecessary travel is not recommended).

IF at some point an order for quarantine is issued to Danish employees on the private labor market, it makes no difference whether the order was issued after your departure date. The quarantine comes into force with immediate effect, regardless of when the individual traveled to, for example, Northern Italy. In that situation, the worker, as the rules are now, will be required to stay at home and will likely lose his right to pay during the quarantine period. If an employee chooses to travel to one of the most affected areas (see the list of areas in the link above) after the Danish authorities have issued a quarantine order for that area, it may be equivalent to self-inflicted illness and have consequences, such as dismissal for the employee in question.

– If I get infected, am I entitled to pay during illness?

Of course, if you are employed as an employee and have a home base in Denmark.

– What happens if you are quarantined?

If you are quarantined without being infected with the corona virus (or otherwise ill) in connection with a holiday, and therefore you are prevented from returning to work as expected, it is force majeure. Therefore, you cannot be dismissed for not doing your job, but you are not entitled to pay. Often, however, you will be able to find a solution with your employer, where you either work while quarantined, or collect the neglected later.

– What happens if my employer fears I’m infected?

If your employer does not want you to come to work for fear of infection, but no authorities have quarantined you, your employer must pay your salary. It is very important that you follow the instructions of the authorities if you want to keep your rights.

Temporary agreements and political agreements

How do I stand if my employer asks me to go on unpaid leave or on a part-time-scheme due to lower production?

It is first and foremost important that a reduction or change in working time (be it full-time to part-time or in the form of leave) follows the provisions of your agreement or contract of employment. Particularly when it comes to the dismissal notices, which basically says that such a change in working conditions can only be effected after several months. Alternatively, a temporary agreement must be made, between your union representative or FPU and the company. Be aware of the tripartite agreement that the government and the social partners have agreed upon on March 15 2020 – see below.

Right now, FPU is negotiating several of such agreements with various companies. In these agreements, we also work to ensure that:

  • Supplementary unemployment benefit (if you are a member of an A-fund)
  • Cover under the Employees Guarantee Fund (LG) if your company still goes bankrupt despite a special/temporary agreement
  • As a general rule, LG will compensate for the lost salary that each member would have received during a notice period if the company had not gone bankrupt. Therefore, it is important that the agreements include a time limit on part-time / leave.

Can the tripartite agreement on a temporary wage-compensation-model be relevant for me?

Yes. A tripartite agreement betwee the government and the social partners has been agreed upon on March 15 2020. And almost all of our CLA-partners has made agrrements with the FPU – using this model. It is a wage-compensation-model (tripartite agreement between the social partners and the Government): Under a three-month aid period, that will last until July 8th, the state offers to pay 75% of employees’ salaries at a maximum of 30,000 Danish crowns ($3,418) per month, while the companies pay the remaining 25% or up to the full wage. You can also decide to make a temporary (collective) agreement and still use it. But this should be done in cooperation between your local representative.

If my company made a deal via the salary compensation model and I get sick while I’m at home, what do I do?

All employees must report as usual, even if they are furloughed and the company receives compensation.

Does the FPU work for political solution?

Yes, day and night. Already last week we approached the Government in order to secure liquidity for the aviation industry. We also called for a salary compensation model, which was agreed upon Sunday.

It is also important for our industry right now to secure liquidity in order to secure jobs. Over the past week, FPU and the Danish employers have been pushing for a solution, and we have succeded in securing some economic aid for the companies:

  • Copenhagen and Stockholm are to provide state-backed credit guarantees so SAS can borrow money from commercial banks. The governments would each provide 1.5 billion Swedish kronor ($151.2 million or 137.7 million euros) in credit guarantees to the Scandinavian carrier.
  • The government has provided 40 billion kr. (6 billion euros) for companies that a particularly hit by the crisis. One of the selected industries are of course aviation. Companies that experience a 40 percent (or more) decrease in revenues can get 25 to 80 percent of their recurrent expenses paid by the state. Several companies in our industry qaulifies for 80 percent payout.
  • (The government has in the beginning of the crisis cancelled various taxes and also the release of the so-called ‘countercyclical capital buffer’ banks have been required to keep on their books since the 2007 financial crisis. This will provide them an extra 200bn Danish kroner in liquidity, which they can either use to lend to businesses or to withstand losses on existing loans. )

What are the opportunities for unemployment benefit if I go on reduced time or on leave or if I am laid off?

Here we would recommend contacting you’re A-kasse. Most FPU-members have their a-kasse at Min A-kasse. We work cloesy together with Min A-kasse in order to secure unemployment funds if we are to make temporary leave-agreements

BUT, however, it is important (as stated just above) that you talk to your union representative or FPU before accepting leave or working hours. It is crucial that your potential unemployment cannot be described as self-inflicted.

What if I am unemployment-insured outside of Denmark (and thereby not a member of a Danish A-kasse)?

If you are a Danish employee or if you are based in Denmark, then you must be a member of an unemployment insurance fund in Denmark. We recommend that you move youre insurance as quickly as possible. You can start by contacting ”Min A-kasse” in Denmark and get good advice on the process.

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