Teleworking, masks, vaccinations … We summarize the new health protocol in the workplace

As for the students, the return of employees promises to be still marked by the Covid-19 pandemic. As of Wednesday, September 1, the rules applicable in companies change, in accordance with the new health protocol published by the Ministry of Labor. Face-to-face and teleworking, vaccination and screening at the workplace, wearing a mask, ventilating the premises… Franceinfo takes stock of the main measures of the health protocol.

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End of the minimum number of days of teleworking

This is one of the main changes in companies: the rules for teleworking are relaxed. The government no longer requires “minimum number of days” in distancing, announced Monday the Minister of Labor, Elisabeth Borne. Employers can therefore ask their employees to return to 100% face-to-face.

Teleworking remains possible, however. It is up to employers to set “within the framework of the local social dialogue, the methods of resorting to this mode of work organization”, provides for the sanitary protocol. It should be noted that public officials can telework three days a week maximum under a framework agreement signed in mid-July by the nine trade unions, public employers and the government.

Some exceptions to wearing a mask

Wearing a mask remains the rule in business. Thus, the general public or surgical mask must be worn in such a way “systematic” in the “closed collective places” like open spaces.

The new health protocol, however, provides for some exceptions. Employees working in a registered office do not have to wear a mask when they are alone in their office. Employees working in workshops are not required to wear it either. “as long as the functional ventilation-aeration conditions comply with the regulations”, that the number of people present in the work area “is limited”, that they respect at least two meters of physical distance and wear a visor.

Outside, wearing a mask is only required in the event of regrouping or the impossibility of respecting physical distancing. Finally, for employees who work in places subject to the health pass, wearing a mask is no longer compulsory, except by decision of the prefect. “when local circumstances justify it”, the operator or the organizer.

Aeration and ventilation of the premises

The protocol insists on “compliance with all the rules of hygiene and physical distancing” to ensure “business continuity in a context of virus circulation”. The text mentions in particular the need “to ventilate the premises by natural or mechanical ventilation”. So doors and windows must be open “as much as possible, ideally permanently if conditions permit and at least five minutes every hour”.

Possible screenings in the workplace

Companies can participate in screening campaigns organized by health authorities or initiate their own rapid test campaigns with volunteer employees. These must be financed by the employer and carried out in accordance with medical confidentiality. Consequently, “no results can be communicated to the employer or his employees”, recalls the protocol. Companies can also make self-tests available to their employees.

In the event of a positive test, the employee must isolate himself at his home and perform a PCR screening to confirm the result. “If it is impossible to telework, it is advisable to declare oneself on the site, in order to benefit from the payment of daily allowances without waiting period”, continues the protocol.

Employees and employers “encouraged” to be vaccinated

“Employees and employers are encouraged to get vaccinated”, underlines the protocol. Vaccination can in particular be carried out by occupational health services. Employees are authorized to be absent for a vaccination appointment. These absences are assimilated to “a period of effective work” and must not lead to a reduction in remuneration.

In addition, in accordance with the health law, the protocol recalls that vaccination becomes compulsory for certain professions. A “transition period” is however established. Until September 14 inclusive, the professionals concerned may continue their activity if they have not been vaccinated, provided they present “the negative result of a virological test dating from less than 72 hours”. Between September 15 and October 15 inclusive, only employees who have received at least one dose of vaccine will be able to continue working with a recent negative test. After this period, all the professionals concerned must have benefited from a complete vaccination schedule, under penalty of being suspended. The control of the vaccination obligation is the responsibility of the employers.

Health pass required for some professionals

Since August 30, professionals working in establishments where health passes are required must also be able to present this document. However, this obligation does not apply to workers who “take place outside spaces accessible to the public or outside opening hours to the public”, specifies the protocol. The pass is also not required “in case of urgent interventions” Where “for delivery activities”.

In the companies concerned, failure to present a health pass will result in penalties. The employer can thus suspend employees on CDD and CDI without remuneration. To avoid any deadweight loss, the employee can still take time off or RTT if his employer accepts it. An interview takes place at the end of the third day following the suspension in order to examine the means of “regularize the situation” the employee, “for example, by offering to be assigned to another position or to work remotely when possible”, details the protocol.

Bribes between colleagues subject to respect for barrier gestures

Organize a departure party or any other “moment of conviviality” between colleagues remains possible. However, these events must “be organized in strict compliance with barrier gestures, in particular the wearing of a mask, aeration-ventilation measures and the rules of distancing”, warns the sanitary protocol. Also it is “strongly recommended” that these moments are held outdoors.

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