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COVID-19 Useful information for companies in North Macedonia

The COVID 19 outbreak has been declared a pandemic and public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization, causing huge impact on people's lives, families and communities.

As the international response continues to develop, we know that organisations are facing several potentially significant challenges to which they need to respond rapidly.

Below are our comments to some frequently asked questions by the companies

1) Is the declared pandemic of COVID 19 considered an event of Force Majeure under the Macedonian laws?    

Yes, there are arguments to claim this Under the Macedonian law a Force Majeure is an event independent from the will of the parties, which occurrence could not be prevented or foreseen, as a result of which a party to an agreement cannot fulfill its contractual obligations All three conditions should be cumulatively fulfilled in order for an event to be qualified as a Force Majeure.

Of course specific Force Majeure contractual clauses (if any) should be considered on a case by case basis In the absence of such clauses, the rules provided in the laws would be directly enforceable.

Considering the above rules a party to a contract can claim Force Majeure event and thus shield itself from eventual non performance claims by the counterparty Namely, under the Macedonian Law on Obligations a contractual party affected by an event of Force Majeure is exempt from fulfillment of its contractual obligations without any responsibility for penalties or damage compensations.

In case of a dispute in front of the Macedonian courts the above rules would be applicable However, in case the contract provides for the application of foreign law you should seek advice for the applicable rules under such law.

In case of international disputes, the companies can request its respective chamber of commerce to issue them a certificate confirming the event of Force Majeure Such certificates may serve as proof in front of a foreign court. 

In the event of entering into new agreements it would be recommendable to stipulate an extended and precise Force Majeure clause in the contracts containing the pandemic, epidemic, etc as an event of Force Majeure.

2) Does the recommendations adopted by the Macedonian Government for justified absence of the employees with a child of the age up to 10 years, are mandatory for the private companies or not?

From a formal perspective the recommendations as published on the Government Website on 13 th of March 2020 are not mandatory for the private companies However, the companies are strongly encouraged to try to reorganise the working process in shifts or similar alternatives (work from home, etc) in order to help spreading the virus further.

3) Does the employer have to pay remuneration to employees who are using the measure for home care of a child?

As a general rule yes - however, the question regarding the amount of the remuneration remains open for interpretations from 50 of the daily remuneration (due to inability to work caused by a Force Majeure) as stated in the Labour Law, or full remuneration as announced by the Government officials (e g if treated as a paid leave) Additional guidance in expected in this respect by the competent Macedonian authorities.

4) Does the employer have to pay remuneration to employees who are quarantined or self isolated?

Similarly to the answer to the above question yes, but there might be different views on the amount of the remuneration from 50 to 100%.

5) Does the quarantine or self isolation days can be deducted from the annual leave of the employee?

Yes, but only if the employee requests the use of annual leave during the quarantine self isolation

6) Can the employer issue mandatory instructions to the employee to take Coronavirus test?

There are no explicit rules on this, but it can be argued that tests would be mandatory if the expense for those is covered by the employer.

7) Can the employer require their employees to wear protective masks?

No, except in case protective masks are stated in the Safety Statement adopted in accordance with the applicable Health Safety legislation.

Legal Disclaimer: The material contained in this alert is provided for general information purposes only and does not contain a comprehensive analysis of each item described. Before taking (or not taking) any action, readers should seek professional advice specific to their situation. No liability is accepted for acts or omissions taken in reliance upon the contents of this alert.

Contact us

Kiril  Papazoski

Kiril Papazoski

Attorney-at-law , Papazoski and Mishev Law Firm, Macedonia

Tel: +389 23140 940

Ivan Mishev

Ivan Mishev

Attorney-at-law , Papazoski and Mishev Law Firm, Macedonia

Tel: +389 23140 940

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