Make companies pay for staff Covid tests, says banking union
Employers should cover the costs of Covid-19 tests for unvaccinated staff and working from home should prevail where possible, the union representing bank employees said on Tuesday.
It comes after the government and unions said last week the unvaccinated will have to present a daily negative Covid test to be able to enter the workplace from 15 January. But ALEBA was left out of the talks “despite being the main union of the financial sector, one of the main pillars of the Luxembourg economy”, the union said in a statement.
ALEBA is now calling on companies to pay for the tests on behalf of any unvaccinated staff members who are required to work from the office.
“This is to avoid any discrimination, to guarantee social peace within companies and ensure equal treatment towards all staff,” the union wrote.
It is also asking firms to opt for teleworking where possible.
Employees who cannot fulfil the CovidCheck requirements and who refuse to take a daily test will have to take a day off or won’t be paid when the new measures kick in, but employees should not be fired for not meeting the conditions, Labour Minister Dan Kersch and Civil Service Minister Marc Hansen said during a joint press conference with other unions last Friday.
Germany and Luxembourg agreed on Tuesday to prolong the agreement for the roughly 50,000 cross-border workers to work from their home in Germany until March next year, without being taxed in both countries. Luxembourg is yet to confirm whether its agreement with France and Belgium will be extended into next year.
The tighter measures at the workplace as well as in restaurants and bars come as Covid cases rise in Luxembourg and across the EU. There are now 72 people in hospital – 23 of whom are in intensive care, the Health Ministry said late on Tuesday. Three people died between Monday and Tuesday, bringing Luxembourg’s death toll to 888 since the start of the pandemic. Just short of 200 people tested positive for the virus between Monday and Tuesday, the ministry’s figures showed.
Since the proposals for tighter Covid measures were announced last week, appointments for people to get their first vaccination tripled to about 900 a day, Health Minister Paulette Lenert said during an interview with RTL. A total of 683 people received their first dose on Monday, figures showed.
During the weekend, around 2,000 people took to the streets of Luxembourg City against the tighter measures, ripping down metal barriers at a Christmas market and intimidating Prime Minister Xavier Bettel at his home. Bettel responded on Tuesday, saying future protests would be contained in specified zones.