State council opinion

Government shirks responsibility on CovidCheck, says council

CovidCheck in companies: the Council of State has given a very favourable opinion on the bill which will be discussed this Thursday in the Health Committee. (Photo: Maison Moderne)

CovidCheck in companies: the Council of State has given a very favourable opinion on the bill which will be discussed this Thursday in the Health Committee. (Photo: Maison Moderne)

Luxembourg’s state council, which assesses all pieces of legislation for their compatibility with the constitution and other laws, does not oppose the draft covid-19 laws proposed by the government last week but said policymakers are shirking responsibility when it comes to CovidCheck in companies.

Members of parliament on Thursday will continue reviewing the government’s draft covid-19 law, including the opinion of Luxembourg’s state council. The council has an advisory role but its opinions are an important step in the legislative process.

The state council welcomed that the government wants to raise the age limit for the CovidCheck from 6 to 12 years, as those under the age of 12 cannot yet get vaccinated. It also said that vaccination of minors should be made easier. In France, for example, the consent of one parent is enough for children aged 12 to 15, while teenagers from the age of 16 may decide on their own and don’t require a parent’s permission to get the jab.

However, the council also said the government should take more responsibility in its plan allowing companies to introduce the CovidCheck system at the workplace. 

“The authors do not, however, make the CovidCheck scheme compulsory,” it said of the government, “but place the responsibility for this decision--as well as the consequences arising from it--with the heads of companies or administration.” The councillors state that “the authors of the bill under discussion could have taken responsibility for this decision themselves.”

The government previously defended its position, saying the law allowed maximum flexibility for companies to introduce the CovidCheck system as it best fits their organisation.

Already in July the council had raised questions over CovidCheck and what would happen to staff who refuse a test. Under the October proposal, Luxembourg labour law would come into play

“The rules of labour law [Code du Travail, editor’s note] will apply, in its provisions relating to both individual and collective labour relations. It will be up to the head of the company to assess the need to introduce the CovidCheck system in all or part of their company, in order to protect the safety and health of the workers concerned. Similarly, it will be up to them to draw the relevant conclusions and impose the appropriate occupational safety and health sanctions, in individual cases, in the event of non-compliance with the rules relating to the scheme introduced. Labour law, including protections for employees against, inter alia, unfair dismissal, will come into full play,” the council said.

In the public sector, "the general statute for state civil servants and the general statute for municipal civil servants, which deal with the rights and duties of civil servants and public employees, are applicable,” the council said.

This story for first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.