About 2000 employees in the retail sector have already taken the coronavirus test and appointments have been arranged for another 4000 as part of a Health Ministry plan to test a total of 20,000 employees in the private and public sector.
The 20,000 tests are being paid for by the state. Under a recent government decision, all employees working in supermarkets and other retail outlets in the food and drink sector who come into contact with the public must take the coronavirus test by April 28. This must be paid by the employer.
Earlier today, PEO trade union confederation said some employers were refusing to schedule appointments for their staff. It also urged the Health Ministry to clarify that the cost of the test should be covered by the employer.
And there have been complaints from businesses regarding accessibility of lab tests.
Late on Wednesday the Health Ministry issued the following announcement:
The Ministry of Health would like to clarify the following regarding molecular tests on 20,000 employees:
- Following the announcement by the President of the Republic, on 11 April 2020 the programme to test 20,000 employees in the private, the public and the wider public domain, as well as in the National Guard, the Police and the Fire Department was put in place with the participation of clinical laboratories which had expressed an interest. It is noted that this programme was a Government initiative with limited execution, in order to bolster laboratory tests on people with increased risk of being exposed to the virus, as part of targeted sample tests.
- On the basis of this programme, 6,000 tests out of 20,000 (30%) were assigned to be carried out on employees in businesses in retail trade of food and drinks. Recommendations have been given to the laboratories to maintain this percentage.
- To date, figures submitted by the laboratories show that 2,000 tests have been completed on employees in business in retail trade in food and drinks. According to official data from the laboratories, appointments for the remaining 4,000 tests at specific points have already been made and there is a limited number at specific Districts.
Once more, it is clarified that the programme was addressed to employees personally and not to businesses.
Moreover, as far as complaints by businesses which fall within the provisions of the Decree, issued by the Minister of Health on 15 April 2020, and which are obliged by April 28 2020 to take the necessary action to have their employees undergo a molecular test for coronavirus, concerning a refusal by the laboratories to provide this service privately, the Ministry of Health clarifies that, having contacted the laboratories which participate in the programme, there is sufficient availability in the majority of these laboratories and consequently, they have to meet their obligations on the basis of the Decree privately.
It is stressed that the employer and not the employee will bear the cost (the maximum cost has been set at 110 euro excluding VAT), in line with the Decree.