Coronavirus: Travel to risk countries, quarantine and salary.
What are the effects of travels to high-risk regions and quarantine on the salary? MyRight explains.
The answer in detail
Updated 27 July 2020
The FOPH specifies the communication on the quarantine obligation on return from a risk country: If on the last day of the journey the country of travel is not yet on the risk list (or the list has not yet come into force), there is no retroactive quarantine obligation. If you travel to a country which is not yet on the risk list on departure, you can, as things stand today, spend the next 14 days on holiday there without having to go into quarantine on your return, because according to the Covid-19 Ordinance of the Swiss Confederation, only countries in which the number of new infections per day has exceeded 60 in the last 14 days are put on the risk list, if no reliable information is available from a country or if persons have repeatedly entered Switzerland as this area in the last four weeks.
Updated 23 July 2020:
The quarantine obligation for travellers from risk countries now also applies retroactively. This means that if the FOPH puts a country on the risk list at this time, all persons who have stayed there within the last 14 days must go into quarantine and follow the FOPH's instructions.
It is still open at this point in time whether the visit to such an area, which is retroactively classified as a risk country, can be charged to an employer, so that he has no claim to continued payment of wages. This is because the FOPH stated the following in no. 9 of the quarantine FAQ: "Employees who have travelled to areas that were considered low-risk at the time of their departure are a priori not at fault. Since this is a pandemic that affects the whole world, including Switzerland, other regions of the world are not a priori more risky than some areas of Switzerland. Such cases may have to be examined by the courts. An employee who knowingly enters a known high-risk area could beheld to be at fault."
Following this logic, a worker who travels to an area not yet classified as a risk country at the time of departure cannot be accused of exposing himself to risk. If this country is now retroactively classified as a risk country, this does not alter the fact that the employee was unaware of this at the time of his journey and is therefore not to blame. This would mean that the employee would be absent from work through no fault of his own, and his wages would be due. It remains to be seen how a court would rule in this situation.
Updated 3 July 2020
- Am I entitled to a salary if I have to go into quarantine (according to the BAG) after a trip abroad in a risk area?
No, in our opinion, the employer is not obliged to pay the salary in such cases, as the absence is self-inflicted. An exception could only apply to returnees who have been forced to start the journey for personal reasons, for example to visit a dying relative (note: however, there is no case law on this matter yet).
If an employee is able to work in home office, then there is usually no impediment to work.
From the federal government's point of view, the prevention of work through quarantine is also not without fault, which is why there is no entitlement to a compensation.
- Is my employer allowed to order quarantine after holidays in a non-risk area according to the BAG, and what happens to the wage payment?
If a country is not on the list of risk areas, but has high infection rates, the employer may order a quarantine himself, but he must continue to pay his salary during this period. He may not force the employees to take holidays.
- Can my employer forbid me to take holidays in a risk country?
No, employers may not forbid private travel. They can only inform their employees about the risks and ask them to handle them responsibly. However, holidays in a risk area can have an impact on wage payments (see above).
The updated list of risk countries can be found here.
You'll find more information about quarantine here.