The announcement made after the Board of Ministers today was disappointingly vague, leaving many with more questions than answers.
What is clear is that some workers will have to remain at home until the 9th of April but that they will continue to be paid by their employers, including their Social Security quotas. This is not paid holidays, however, as they will have to recuperate those work hours, which amount to about 80 hours.
You cannot just work endless hours because labour laws stipulates the amount of hours that a person can be permitted to work in one go. But there is plenty of time – until the 31st of December.
No, the uncertainty is: who will no longer be permitted to go to work?. Of course, the logical conclusion is the building trade for instance, but what kind of building work?
If it is a new-build project then, logically, it can be dropped, but what if they are engaged in renovation work and if they down tools they will leave the dwelling uninhabitable for the people living there?
What about builder trades like electricians and plumbers and they get a call out for an emergency? Surely, they will be exempt from this restrictive measure.
The Government basically said, when asked to be more specific, that the essential business were those stated in the Royal Decree of the 15th. Dry-cleaners are essential but hairdresser no longer are. Builders were included but the Government hasn’t actually said that they no longer are, much less under what circumstances.
So, if you are a builder or have builders in at the moment, it’s a case of applying logic: if a pool is being built or repaired – down tools; if the bathroom is being overhauled, logically, it should be completed.
Anyway, your guess is as good as ours…