Business want state to pay for staff testing

Ljubljana – A chamber representing small businesses has called on the government to scrap the requirement of frequent testing of staff who have not been vaccinated or have not recovered from Covid-19, saying in any event the cost of testing should be covered by the state. Meanwhile, an exec of the chamber representing large companies favours the PCT rule.

The Chamber of Trade Crafts and Small Business (OZS) noted harsh protective measures already in place for the services sector, “while there is also no evidence the services have ever been the source of infections”.

“We thus believe the testing of employees several times a week should be abandoned, being a major organisational and financial burden. In any event, the cost of testing must be shouldered by the state rather than the employer,” OZS head Branko Meh said on Friday.

Many proprietors and their staff say they will not be able to cover the cost of rapid antigen tests every 48 hours and the operation will be hard to organise.

He believes all activities should be treated the same and if the state mandates compulsory testing it should also pay for it, like in education. He said that the cost of workers being absent due to testing was even higher than that of the tests.

Meh said the chamber supported vaccination, but could not force their employees to get the jab.

Meanwhile, the trade union of hospitality and tourism workers said the staff who have not had Covid-19 or have not been vaccinated against it were being increasingly pressured to get inoculated.

In a letter to the heads of the hospitality divisions of the OZS and the larger Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), the union also called on employers to stop misleading their employees into believing they would have to pay for the tests themselves.

This is as the unvaccinated employees with no previous positive coronavirus test in the hospitality and tourism industry will have to take rapid antigen tests every 48 hours or a PCR test every 78 hours from 23 August that will no longer be provided by the state.

However, the union said that some other services and the manufacturing sector where several hundred people work together had not been subject to mandatory testing or they had to take tests only once a month.

Meanwhile, Mitja Gorenšček, GZS executive director, told the newspaper Delo in an interview that the recovered-vaccinated-tested rule (PCT) should be made into law, so that those who met the rule could move more freely and the economy would not have to be shut down.

“It would be good if the state enacted the PCT obligation for all the settings under its responsibility as soon as possible and would recommend the same for the settings it is not responsible for,” Delo quoted the official as saying.