Law No. 1.488 of 11 May 2020 which was published on 15 May 2020 and entered into force on 16 May 2020 renders employers criminally liable for violations of the specified measures, specifically:
1. Violations of the prohibition of dismissals except for certain restrictive exceptions are subject to fines from 2,250 € to 9,000 € (Art. 8 of Law No. 1.488).
Violations of the prohibition of early termination of fixed-term contracts except for certain restrictive exceptions are subject to fines of € 2,250 to € 9,000 (Art. 9 of Law No. 1488)
2. Non-compliance with the obligation, when employees work on companies’ premises, to comply with the preventive health measures laid down by the Minister of State, is subject to the following financial penalties:
- between €75 and €200 for the first breach;
- between €200 and €600 in the event of a new occurrence;
- between €1,000 and €2,250 in the event of a warning being issued more than three times within thirty working days from the date of the first breach (Arts. 11 and 26 Law no. 1.488).
These sanctions will remain in force until 18 June 2020 (Art. 3 of Law No. 1.485 of 9 April 2020 suspending the administrative deadlines for dealing with the COVID-19 virus pandemic).
In addition, Ministerial Decision of 28 April 2020 creates the obligation to implement preventive health and safety measures as of 4 May 4 2020 upon establishments authorized to resume their activities. These measures are listed in the annex to the Ministerial Decision and are split into:
- general measures applying to all businesses;
- general measures for shopping centres;
- special measures according to the sector of activity, namely "food stores", "hairdressing salons, beauty salons, nail bars" and "fashion, ready to wear".
Employers will therefore have to demonstrate increased vigilance in the implementation of preventive health measures and ensure that their employees, business partners and the public visiting their establishments respect the new measures.
Telework or distance working remains the recommended option for companies. However, employers are no longer obliged to allow it when the nature of the activity is compatible with the remote exercise of employees’ work and when it can provide the technical and material means. As such, companies no longer risk incurring any criminal fines for not permitting distance working from their employees (Art. 11 of the Ministerial Decision of 14 May 2020 amending the Ministerial Decision of 28 April 2020 on the introduction of exceptional measures in the context of the gradual resumption of activities to combat the COVID-19 epidemic and Art. 10 of Law 1.488).