The Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Janez Cigler Kralj, presented the measures to mitigate and remedy COVID-19 consequences, as part of the sixth anti-coronavirus package (ACP6). In addition, he spoke about the situation in care homes and the measures adopted by the ministry to contain the spread of the virus.
Among 2,217 new COVID-19 infections confirmed yesterday, the figures were also high in care homes as 229 residents were infected. Moreover, the infection was confirmed in 65 employees yesterday, amounting to a total of almost 300 confirmed cases in one day. Currently, 1,551 of a total of just over 19,000 care home residents are infected. In addition, 718 of a total of 12,287 employees are infected.
During the second wave of the epidemic, 277 care home residents have died since 20 July 2020; 136 of them at the hospital and 141 in care homes. In the second wave, a vast majority of care homes are faced with infections, i.e. 85% of all care homes, which is exactly the opposite to the first wave, when the virus only affected 10% of care homes.
Several care homes across the country have recorded the highest daily increase in the number of confirmed cases. For instance, 18 new infections among residents and 3 among employees were confirmed in the Preddvor care home. The director and registered nurses are in the process of terminating employment relationships by agreement, so the ministry will carry out a visit to examine the personnel situation at the care home. A total of 29 new infections among residents and 2 among employees were confirmed in the Nova Gorica care home; two residents died. In the Novo mesto care home, 45 residents are infected, with one death recorded. In the Bistrica Domžale Intergenerational Centre, 20 new infections were confirmed among residents and 6 among employees. In the Dr Jože Potrč Home in Poljčane, 11 new infections were confirmed among residents and 2 among employees. In the Dom Pod Gorco in Maribor, 12 new infections were confirmed among residents, while 14 have already recovered. In the Ilirska Bistrica care home, 10 new infections were confirmed among residents, while 14 have already recovered. In the DEOS care home in Gornji grad, 11 new infections were confirmed among residents.
In the Ptuj care home, 65 of a total of 666 residents are infected; 18 of them are hospitalised, while 47 are in the red zone. Between 16 October and 10 November 2020, 26 residents died compared to 6 in the same period of 2019 and 12 in the same period of 2018.
The minister presented the ACP6 measures that fall within his ministry. Three measures are related to the labour market.
The first measure is designed to simplify the procedures for registering working from home, which was submitted to the Labour Inspectorate in the second wave of the epidemic by 3,991 employers, each for a number of their employees. In terms of job security and support to the economy, the second ACP6 measure relates to the extension of subsidised part-time employment until 30 June 2021. The third measure involves increased reimbursement of salary compensation during temporary lay-off.
By 10 November 2020, the Employment Service of Slovenia received 12,739 applications from employers for partial subsidies for full-time work for 59,827 employees. Within this measure, the Employment Service has so far paid employers almost EUR 9.4 million for more than 17,400 workers. The Employment Service paid almost EUR 302 million for the temporary lay-off measure, EUR 239,999 for the quarantine measure and EUR 913,822 for the temporary cash compensation measure. To date, the Employment Service paid EUR 312 million for all intervention measures and helped secure 300,000 jobs.
For the purpose of providing staff necessary in care homes, the right to unemployment allowance will be suspended for jobseekers at the Employment Service and the conditions for refusing the offered employment will be changed.
The ACP6 introduces higher bonuses for care home employees. According to the law, bonuses for working in the grey and red zones are 30% of the salary base and apply regardless of whether or not an epidemic has been officially declared. In this way, employees are additionally compensated for working in the grey and red zones, regardless of the respective collective agreement, which provides a bonus of up to 65% during an epidemic. These two bonuses have been mutually exclusive so far, but as of now the higher of the two will be paid.