Can Employers Prevent Unvaccinated Employees from Coming to Work?
Under particular circumstances, employees who have not been vaccinated or do not present a negative coronavirus test may be denied entry to the workplace
The Regional Labor Court in Tel Aviv decided that education system employees may be denied entry to school if they do not present a certificate of vaccination against the coronavirus or, alternatively, a negative coronavirus test. The court ruled that the potential harm to populations with whom employees come into contact during work hours (namely students, who are currently ineligible for vaccination) outweighs employees’ right to abstain from vaccination (or presentation of a negative test) and continue performing their roles.
The Labor Court relied on the Ministry of Health’s position in this regard. We emphasize that this court ruling largely rests on the case’s specific circumstances, notably the fact that the particular employee’s work requires contact with a vulnerable population and cannot be performed remotely.
As of March 18, 2021, the need for managerial flexibility when dealing with the repercussions of the coronavirus has been officially recognized
Regulations now include an official statement that employers may decide that particular employees can perform their work remotely and may define work arrangements accordingly. While many employers have been operating in this manner for quite some time, the introduction of an explicit regulation stating as much now offers significant backing for employers when employees refuse to work remotely.
The green pass has arrived at the workplace
From now on, employers may require that employees present a green pass before entering particular public spaces in the workplace:
- Employers may require that employees present a green pass to sit in an enclosed employee dining hall. In doing so, employers must permit all employees to pick up and take out food (even those without a green pass). Seating in the dining hall is subject to capacity restrictions that apply to public spaces (up to 75% of the room’s maximum capacity or up to 100 people). Employers must maintain a distance of two meters between tables and strictly adhere to hygiene and sanitation standards in the dining hall.
- On a related note, we’ll add that employers may also permit employees to sit in an open-air employee dining hall without having to present a green pass, provided they maintain a distance of two meters between tables.
Employers may also require that employees present a green pass to participate in a professional conference or in training sessions that employers hold for their employees, including face-to-face lectures, provided employees have the option of participating remotely through online means. The aforementioned is subject to the restrictions that apply to public events in public places, and does not include conferences or practical training courses requiring employees’ active, hands-on participation.
- Employers may also require that employees present a green pass to enter a workplace gym or fitness studio (excluding operation of a jacuzzi or sauna). Employee entry requires advance scheduling and is subject to capacity restrictions that currently apply to public spaces (up to 20 people in a closed space or one person for every 7 m2, whichever is more lenient). Employers must ensure that exercise equipment is distanced two meters apart and must be diligent about cleaning and disinfecting the gym.
- Finally, please be aware that employers are no longer required to take employees’ temperatures upon entering the workplace – that regulation has been repealed.
We are at your disposal should you have any questions or require consult concerning this topic.