Food producers have uncertainties about sick leaves, testing and transport during strict restrictions

Ligita Turnere, a member of the Board of the Latvian Federation of Food Companies (LPUF), informed food producers about the leaves, testing and transport during the home meeting or the strict restrictions introduced in Latvia from Thursday to November 15.

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She explained that LPUF had received several calls and e-mails with questions about the uncertainties faced by the companies. One of the most unpleasant surprises is the regulation of sick leaves, which stipulates that in case an unvaccinated employee falls ill with Covid-19, the sickness benefit is paid by the employer until the 10th day of incapacity for work. Such changes are envisaged in the draft amendments to the Law “On Maternity and Sickness Insurance”.

“Too much responsibility is placed on employers, it is a disproportionate burden in a situation where companies need support and hospitality,” Turner commented.

There is also a lot of confusion for food producers about the organization of shift work, which is an integral part of the food processing industry on a daily basis. Concerns include the entry of workers to and from the workplace and testing for the unvaccinated.

For example, there are problems with unvaccinated workers – it takes two days between the test and the response. The issue of costs also seems worrying to the industry, namely which party provides the payment for the testing.

“It is not clear what the conditions are for an employer-organized bus to take workers to the factory to and from night shifts,” Turner added. This includes confusion over the limitation of the number of people in different vehicles per household, as well as when four to five people working in the same private car work in the same unit, assignment or shift, or will be penalized.

At the same time, food producers want to know whether employees who have started vaccination but have not yet completed it will be able to work in person after 15 November. “It is clear that, unfortunately, some unvaccinated workers are ready to lose their jobs,” Turner said, adding that this only meant that the problem of the workforce in the food sector would be exacerbated.

As reported, by November 15, Latvia will have particularly strict restrictions on Covid-19 or a strict “bow down”.