Since Uruguay faces a health crisis, the evolution and cessation of which are uncertain and the situation is therefore dynamic, since last March 13th the Government has been approving different regulations within this framework.
We will analyze each of the standards approved in the context of coronavirus.
1. MEASURES ADOPTED IN THE LABOR FIELD
1.1. DECREE 93/2020
It was the first regulation approved under the coronavirus framework, declaring the state of national sanitary emergency
Among other provisions, it stands out the exhortation for companies to take extreme measures of cleaning and disinfection in places destined for work and/or attention to the public.
Compulsory quarantine for at least fourteen days was declared, under control and following the instructions of the attending physician or the health authority, for those persons who: a) have contracted COVID-19; b) have fever, and one or more respiratory symptoms (cough, sore throat or respiratory distress) and also, in the last fifteen days, they have remained temporarily or permanently in "high risk areas"; c) have been in direct contact with confirmed cases of COVID-19; d) enter the Eastern Republic of Uruguay after having transited or remained in "high risk areas".
It was defined as "high risk areas" as determined by the World Health Organization in its daily updates, the Kingdom of Spain, the Italian Republic, the French Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany, the People's Republic of China, Korea from the South, Japan, the Republic of Singapore and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
1.2. DECREE 94/2020
Regarding labor matters, article five of the aforementioned decree determined that all those people forced to maintain an isolation regime due to risk of contracting or spreading the COVID-19 virus, and are included in the sickness subsidy regime established by Decree-Law No. 14,407, will have the right to receive the corresponding benefit for the corresponding period.
Likewise, it urged all employers to implement and promote, in all possible cases, that workers carry out their tasks at home. In the event that the employer has the teleworking modality, it foresees that it must be communicated to the General Labor Inspection, via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The employer must supply the necessary implements to carry out the entrusted task.
In terms of safety and hygiene, employers were required to adopt all the measures at their disposal to manage the preventive and protection procedures related to the possible spread of the COVID-19 virus, complying with the specific provisions established in the Resolution of the M.T.S.S. dated March 13th, 2020.
Lastly, the worker must immediately inform his direct hierarchical superior about any job situation that, in his opinion, represents a risk that promotes the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
1.3. RESOLUTION OF 3/13/2020, ISSUED BY M.T.S.S.
The norm establishes that it is up to the employer, the Bipartite Safety Commission (Decree No. 291/007) and the Occupational Health and Prevention Services (Decree 127/014) to coordinate the preparation of risk prevention and action protocols of the coronavirus called COVID 19, according to the nature and characteristics of each company or institution.
It foresees that, necessarily, the Protocols that are drawn up must be reliably communicated to the workers and have the maximum public dissemination among them, placing themselves in visible places such as billboards, changing rooms, etc.
Regarding the content of the Protocol, it should include general information on the characteristics and risks of the infectious disease caused by the Coronavirus COVID 19 and described by the Ministry of Public Health.
1.4. RESOLUTION N°143 OF 18/03/2020, ISSUED BY M.T.S.S.
This resolution created a special regime to enter the unemployment subsidy, which is added as a second alternative for the employer, who will have two options: a) he may send their workers to the subsidy for total suspension of tasks, under the regime general regulated in Decree Law 15,180; b) or sending their workers to unemployment benefits under the special regime.
It should be noted that the resolution applied only to workers in the sectors which are most affected by the coronavirus. However, the M.T.S.S. resolved to extend the scope of the standard in such a way that all sectors of the activity are understood by it.
The validity of the special regime will extend until April 18th, 2020 inclusive, renewable for the same period, and includes only monthly workers, with fixed or variable remuneration.
There are two reasons for sending workers to the subsidy under this special regime: a) partial reduction in working hours of up to 50%: a worker who works 8 hours, is reduced to 4 hours of work. Said reduction can only be until the validity of the special subsidy. For the 4 effective working hours, the employer will pay you 50% of your salary and for the remaining 4 reduced hours, B.P.S. will pay you a 25% subsidy, b) due to a reduction in working days in the month, with a minimum of six days. It is the hypothesis in which, for the term of this subsidy, the working days are reduced, for example, decreasing to fifteen days.
The amount of the subsidy is 25% of the monthly average of all the remunerations that constitute taxable matter, declared on the payroll and received by the worker in the last six months.
Said subsidy is only taxed for personal contributions and is exempt from personal income tax.
In order to access said subsidy, the monthly worker is required to have reached a minimum age of six months on a work schedule in a company.
1.5. RESOLUTION OF 20/03/2020, ISSUED BY M.T.S.S.
This recent resolution, in the context of the health emergency and in an extremely exceptional way, authorizes employers to advance the enjoyment of the license generated and that will be generated throughout the year 2020.
This license must be agreed between both parties in writing and the agreement must be sent by email to email@example.com
The advancement of the use of the license must always be for the benefit of both parties to the employment relationship and must be motivated in the situation of health crisis that our country is going through.
Regarding the period of the leave, it corresponds to the entire period that the worker will generate according to his seniority during 2020, or to the previously agreed fraction, which can never be less than ten days.
Both the payment of the license and the payment of the vacation salary is governed by current regulations .
2. ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL MEASURES
On March 19th the government announced the adoption of a series of measures, aimed at contributing to the country's economic liquidity.
On the strictly economic level, the following measures were adopted:
BROU will have a credit line of up to $ 50 million available to companies - which could reach $ 125 million - subject to flexible refinancing conditions (lower rates, longer terms, grace periods in some cases). Although the basic contracting conditions are not stipulated to date, they will allow small and medium-sized companies to face the “financial shock” that the current health crisis would produce.
The funds destined to the National Guarantee System for the SIGA Pyme line will be increased, making it possible to grant loans to small and medium-sized companies for up to 2,500 million dollars. Likewise, 70% of the commission obtained through the guarantee system is exempted.
Micro and small companies affected by the current health situation are incorporated into the credit program run by the National Development Agency (ANDE), as beneficiaries, to obtain credits for working capital (to less than 18 months). For these purposes, the interest rate that microfinance companies charge for granting such loans is subsidized.
For the beneficiaries of ANDE's programs and instruments, the suspension of contractual terms was ordered, in favor of the beneficiary.
In the financial sphere, various measures were adopted by the different collecting entities. By Resolution No. 550/2020 dated March 20th the General Tax Office approved the following measures:
The payment of the tax obligations corresponding to the month of February 2020 (that is, those that expire between today and Thursday) is extended for Friday, March 27th.
The minimum VAT payment corresponding to February and March 2020 is deferred for those taxpayers included in the lit. E) of art. 52 of the 1996 Ordered Text, which will be paid in six equal installments, consecutive and without interest payment, starting in May.
For its part, the payment of employer contributions from owners and partners of personal companies, corresponding to March and April 2020, to be paid to the Social Security Bank was deferred. 60% of said contributions will be paid in 6 installments starting in June, and the remaining 40% will be subsidized by the State.
The measure reaches monotax payers, sole proprietorships and personal companies with up to 10 employees whose contribution regime is industry and commerce.
Finally, by Communication No. 2020/040 dated March 19th, 2020, the Central Bank of Uruguay authorized the financial intermediation institutions, financial services companies, and credit administrators to extend the maturities of the loans. to the non-financial sector in agreement with their clients for up to 180 days.
3. SUSPENSION OF JURISDICTIONAL ACTIVITY
By Resolution No. 12/2020 dated March 16th, 2020, the Supreme Court of Justice declared the days from March 14th to April 3rd of the current day invalid, suspending the deadlines and scheduled judicial actions (hearings, evidentiary proceedings, etc.). In the aforementioned period, only matters of an urgent nature will be addressed.
Likewise, by the Accord No. 8 dated March 16th, 2020, the Administrative Litigation Court ordered an extraordinary fair period for a health emergency from March 16th to April 3rd, 2020 inclusive, suspending jurisdictional activity.
4. SUSPENSION OF CONCILIATION HEARINGS TO BE HELD BEFORE THE MINISTRY OF LABOR AND SOCIAL SECURITY
By Circular No. 1/2020 dated March 16th, 2020, the Ministry of Labor and Social Security ordered to suspend the hearings scheduled between March 17th and March 29th inclusive, which will be rescheduled after April 12th current, according to availability of agenda.
5. OTHER MEASURES TAKEN
By Decree No. 93/2020 dated March 13th, 2020, the state of national sanitary emergency was declared, as a consequence of the pandemic caused by the virus. In order to do this, measures were established such as: (i) suspension of public shows until the Executive Power so orders; (ii) closure of public and private thermal tourist centers; (iii) extreme cleaning measures; and (iv) provision of the isolation to which we initially referred.
Likewise, by Decree No. 94/2020 dated March 16th, 2020, the following measures were adopted: (i) impossibility for passengers and crew of cruise ships and commercial vessels coming from high-risk areas to land in Uruguayan territory; (ii) impossibility for citizens from Argentina to enter the country; and (iii) suspension of international flights from Europe, from March 20th, 2020 for a period of 30 calendar days.
Montevideo, March 23rd, 2020
In this sense, it is required that every Protocol must contain the following description:
“The most common symptoms that COVID 19 produces are fever, and respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath). In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, respiratory failure, kidney failure, and even death. The disease spreads when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales, giving off drops of infected fluid. Most of these drops fall on objects and surfaces that surround the person, such as desks, tables, or telephones. Others can get COVID-19 if they touch these contaminated objects or surfaces and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth. They can also be spread if they are less than a meter away from a person with COVID-19 and inhale the drops that have been spread by coughing or exhaling. That is, COVID-19 spreads similarly to the flu. Most people who get the disease have mild symptoms and recover. However, some people have severe cases of the disease and may require hospital care. The risk of developing a serious condition increases with age: people over 40 seem to be more vulnerable than those under 40. People with a weakened immune system and people with conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or lung disease are also at increased risk of developing severe cases of the disease."
Regarding hygiene measures, it is established that the employer must provide sufficient amounts of alcohol and personal protection means, such as gloves in workplaces in those activities in which the workers are in direct contact with the public.
As for masks, the regulation refers to the recommendation of the World Health Organization, indicating that their use is advised only in those cases in which you are in contact with someone who is suspected of being infected with the virus or if it manifests cough or sneeze, emphasizing that they are only effective if combined with hand washing with soap and water or alcohol gel. Notwithstanding this, its use may be considered in those cases where due to the nature of the work there is close and frequent contact with other people.
Likewise, it must be ensured that work places and equipment are clean and sanitized, in this sense surfaces such as desks, desks, tables, door handles, handrails and objects such as telephones and keyboards must be cleaned with disinfectant frequently.
Indicate that the use of articles for personal use such as mate, bottles, cutlery and tableware is for exclusive use only and should not be shared.
Adequate maintenance and cleaning of equipment that project air, such as hand dryers, air conditioning and ventilation equipment, should also be ensured. Hygiene and ventilation must be extreme in small spaces.
Instruct all people to carry out work activities, frequent hand washing with soap and water, or the use of alcohol gel solutions, bearing in mind that hand hygiene is the main measure of prevention and control of infection. Information signs should be placed in a visible place for such purposes.
Ensure the supply of implements for washing and disinfecting hands, ensuring the continuous replacement of soap in bathrooms and kitchens.
Place alcohol gel dispensers in visible places (counters, brand watches, dining rooms, canteens, general public service offices), ensuring that the dispensers are refilled frequently.
Promote respiratory hygiene in the workplace, indicating that when coughing or sneezing, the mouth and nose should be covered with the elbow crease or with a disposable tissue.
Place visible signage on respiratory hygiene measures.
The organization of work must be determined in such a way that a distance of never less than one and a half meters is maintained between workers and / or with the public.
Avoid the concentration of people in all workplaces, ensuring that their number is limited to the minimum possible.