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New executive order exempts foreign employees from isolation during working hours

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calendar 11 February 2021
globus Denmark

The Danish Parliament has previously adopted an act which - going forward - will require companies with foreign employees to ensure that the employees are tested for coronavirus after entering Denmark from certain countries, regions or areas. With a new executive order, more detailed rules have been provided on these requirements that companies must comply with, as well as when the employees are exempt from the requirement to isolate.

Pursuant to a new act, companies must ensure that foreign employees are PCR-tested for coronavirus upon entry to Denmark from certain countries, regions, or areas. The test may be performed either via TestCenter Denmark or a private provider, within 48 and 96 hours after the employee has been tested negative for coronavirus prior to their entry into Denmark. This means that foreign employees must be tested a total of three times in connection with their entry:

  • The first test no earlier than 24 hours prior to entry into Denmark
  • The second test no later than 24 hours after entry into Denmark
  • The third test within 48 and 96 hours after the test that ensured entry into Denmark

The requirement does not apply in several cases, for example if the employee is a resident in Denmark and the border country, if the employee is doing offshore-work, or if the employee previously has been infected with coronavirus.

The new rules introduce requirements upon companies to document in writing that a PCR-test for coronavirus has been performed, or that the employee is exempt from the requirements. In connection hereto, a digital solution will be developed which will make it easier for the employees to hand over documentation from the health authorities to the company.

Furthermore, companies must develop a written plan for the tests for coronavirus. The plan must, among other things, create an overview of which employees are covered by and informed about the test requirement. At the same time, this plan also serves as the main documentation to the Danish Working Environment Authority in case of a supervisory visit. This also entails that the plan must be continuously updated, for example, every time an employee travels to Denmark. The written plan must consist of the following three pieces of information:

  • How employees are informed about the test requirements, including when, where, and how it will be performed
  • How the company stays informed about which countries, regions, or areas are included in the requirements
  • An overview of employees that have travelled to Denmark after 7 February, as well as details regarding the entry

The requirement will apply for a limited period until 1 July 2021. The Act entered into force on 2 February 2021.

When are foreign employees exempt from the requirement to isolate?

In addition to the new requirement upon companies to PCR-test foreign employees, a general requirement to get tested and self-isolate upon entry to Denmark has been introduced. Pursuant to a new executive order, special consideration has been made for companies with foreign employees.

As a main rule, anyone travelling to Denmark must self-isolate for 10 days upon entry. This requirement to isolate may, however, be discontinued with a negative PCR-test for coronavirus taken 4 days after entry into Denmark, at the earliest. Also, certain groups may break isolation sooner subject to a negative antibody test, also taken 4 days after entry into Denmark, at the earliest.

At the same time, there are a series of exceptions for foreign employees, such as:

  • Employees that have a recognizable purpose such as work, or a critical business meeting, may be allowed to interrupt isolation temporarily to work or participate in the meeting
  • Employees that have received a negative PCR-test in accordance with the above requirements, are not exempt from the requirement to isolate
  • Employees that have previously had coronavirus and can provide documentation for a positive test-result for coronavirus, are exempt from the requirement to isolate
  • Employees with permanent residence in Denmark or a residence permit who can document having travelled to Denmark more than six times within 30 days prior to the time of entry, are exempt from requirement to isolate

Employees that temporarily break their isolation must immediately resume isolation when they are no longer serving the purpose that allowed the temporary break in isolation. The employee is not, however, obliged to resume isolation, if the employee leaves Denmark straight after.

IUNO’s opinion

Companies must be aware of the many new requirements for testing, isolation and documentation regarding foreign employees. To ensure that companies have time to adjust to the new rules, the Danish Working Environment Authority has announced that inspections will not be carried out before Monday, 15 February.

IUNO recommends that companies familiarize themselves with the new requirements and that they already ensure that the necessary plan is developed to guarantee that the requirements are complied with. We have previously written about the Act which is the basis for the new Executive Order, here.

[Executive Order on the duty of ensuring Covid-19 testing of foreign employees upon entry into Denmark, of 5 February 2021, and the Executive Order on the requirements for testing and isolation upon entry into Denmark in connection with the handling of Covid-19, of 5 February 2021]

Pursuant to a new act, companies must ensure that foreign employees are PCR-tested for coronavirus upon entry to Denmark from certain countries, regions, or areas. The test may be performed either via TestCenter Denmark or a private provider, within 48 and 96 hours after the employee has been tested negative for coronavirus prior to their entry into Denmark. This means that foreign employees must be tested a total of three times in connection with their entry:

  • The first test no earlier than 24 hours prior to entry into Denmark
  • The second test no later than 24 hours after entry into Denmark
  • The third test within 48 and 96 hours after the test that ensured entry into Denmark

The requirement does not apply in several cases, for example if the employee is a resident in Denmark and the border country, if the employee is doing offshore-work, or if the employee previously has been infected with coronavirus.

The new rules introduce requirements upon companies to document in writing that a PCR-test for coronavirus has been performed, or that the employee is exempt from the requirements. In connection hereto, a digital solution will be developed which will make it easier for the employees to hand over documentation from the health authorities to the company.

Furthermore, companies must develop a written plan for the tests for coronavirus. The plan must, among other things, create an overview of which employees are covered by and informed about the test requirement. At the same time, this plan also serves as the main documentation to the Danish Working Environment Authority in case of a supervisory visit. This also entails that the plan must be continuously updated, for example, every time an employee travels to Denmark. The written plan must consist of the following three pieces of information:

  • How employees are informed about the test requirements, including when, where, and how it will be performed
  • How the company stays informed about which countries, regions, or areas are included in the requirements
  • An overview of employees that have travelled to Denmark after 7 February, as well as details regarding the entry

The requirement will apply for a limited period until 1 July 2021. The Act entered into force on 2 February 2021.

When are foreign employees exempt from the requirement to isolate?

In addition to the new requirement upon companies to PCR-test foreign employees, a general requirement to get tested and self-isolate upon entry to Denmark has been introduced. Pursuant to a new executive order, special consideration has been made for companies with foreign employees.

As a main rule, anyone travelling to Denmark must self-isolate for 10 days upon entry. This requirement to isolate may, however, be discontinued with a negative PCR-test for coronavirus taken 4 days after entry into Denmark, at the earliest. Also, certain groups may break isolation sooner subject to a negative antibody test, also taken 4 days after entry into Denmark, at the earliest.

At the same time, there are a series of exceptions for foreign employees, such as:

  • Employees that have a recognizable purpose such as work, or a critical business meeting, may be allowed to interrupt isolation temporarily to work or participate in the meeting
  • Employees that have received a negative PCR-test in accordance with the above requirements, are not exempt from the requirement to isolate
  • Employees that have previously had coronavirus and can provide documentation for a positive test-result for coronavirus, are exempt from the requirement to isolate
  • Employees with permanent residence in Denmark or a residence permit who can document having travelled to Denmark more than six times within 30 days prior to the time of entry, are exempt from requirement to isolate

Employees that temporarily break their isolation must immediately resume isolation when they are no longer serving the purpose that allowed the temporary break in isolation. The employee is not, however, obliged to resume isolation, if the employee leaves Denmark straight after.

IUNO’s opinion

Companies must be aware of the many new requirements for testing, isolation and documentation regarding foreign employees. To ensure that companies have time to adjust to the new rules, the Danish Working Environment Authority has announced that inspections will not be carried out before Monday, 15 February.

IUNO recommends that companies familiarize themselves with the new requirements and that they already ensure that the necessary plan is developed to guarantee that the requirements are complied with. We have previously written about the Act which is the basis for the new Executive Order, here.

[Executive Order on the duty of ensuring Covid-19 testing of foreign employees upon entry into Denmark, of 5 February 2021, and the Executive Order on the requirements for testing and isolation upon entry into Denmark in connection with the handling of Covid-19, of 5 February 2021]

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Hessellund Klausen

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Astrup

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Groth Henriksen

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