It is possible again, for your work abroad. But there are a few things to consider in times of corona, especially now that the omikron variant is causing many new infections worldwide. The measures differ per country and the policy changes quite often. Before leaving, you may need to talk to colleagues or customers about their vaccination status. In this article, 2 entrepreneurs tell you how they approach this. In addition, you can read about how things are going in various places in the world during corona time.
Successfully start importing
Email series with practical information and tips about the import process. Suppose you go abroad with colleagues for work. Where you previously looked forward to a successful, but also pleasant trip, you are now faced with a dilemma: does everyone have a valid corona pass? A conversation about this in the workplace is not self-evident, but it is certainly not prohibited either. And one thing is certain, thorough preparation is a must.
What can you ask?
You may ask an employee whether he has been vaccinated. “Feel free to ask. But there should be no consequences attached to the answer,” says Annette Borgers, employment lawyer at Van Bladel Advocaten. “The employee does not have to answer. If he does tell, then you are not allowed to do anything with this information. Also don’t write it down anywhere. That is in violation of the privacy law.”
What is not allowed is to oblige your employees to have a corona jab, says Sean Witteveen of legal service provider DAS. “The Netherlands currently does not have a vaccination obligation. Check it out on Wejustgotback.com for more information. There is therefore no law that you as an employer can point to to force an employee to vaccinate. The Constitution states that every Dutch person has the right to determine for himself what happens to his or her body. That includes the freedom of choice for a vaccination.”
Italy: less salary
In Italy, more than 85% of adults have been vaccinated on December 1, 2021. To achieve this percentage, the government has taken far-reaching measures: anyone who wants to work has to inject or test. People regularly knock on the door who have booked a trip and discover too late that the requirements are stricter than they suspected
Italy also uses the corona pass in the workplace. In healthcare, education, government or private companies, employees must show a QR code. This may come from a negative test, but employees have to pay for it themselves. A full-time employee therefore loses about 150 euros per month. Those who do not have a valid corona pass have to go home and may receive a lower salary.
United States: Full Vaccination
For a year and a half, Rob Schuurman, director of Nedap Retail, did not travel to his employer’s office in the United States (US). While he spent a week there every month before corona. “Suddenly we had to let go of everything. Really leave the work to the people there. And that is actually going very well,” says Schuurman. In November he traveled to Boston for the first time. ‘Just’, to have a real conversation with his overseas colleagues. “Have a bite to eat together. This is necessary for our contact. Things are going well, but there are the occasional little annoyances, misunderstandings. They’ll be off the air in no time when you can look each other in the eye.”
Schuurman is going to the US with a small group of colleagues and has drawn internal attention in advance to the corona rules that apply there. “But we did not literally ask whether colleagues have been vaccinated. Everyone is aware that this is necessary to get on the plane.”
At first it was unclear with which vaccines you can enter the US. Now that is clear. Contrary to previous reports, people who have been vaccinated with Jansen or AstraZeneca are also allowed to enter America. After December 1, 2021, every traveler must have a current negative test or a recovery certificate in addition to the vaccinations.
Once in America, things are different than in the Netherlands, Schuurman knows from stories from American colleagues. “Everything is a bit harder, more black and white. Companies have the freedom to require employees to be vaccinated and they do. We ourselves pour a Dutch sauce over American policy for our employees there. We respect everyone’s opinion, including when it comes to vaccination.”
For the time being, everything in the American part of Nedap is going smoothly, says Schuurman, but that may change if the colleagues from Boston will visit their customers more often or want to eat out with business relations. “They only enter a restaurant if they are vaccinated. Tired of other companies too until they can show their QR.”
Nedap provides technical support to companies in the agricultural sector, healthcare, retail and security worldwide. The Nedap Retail division focuses on theft prevention and greater stock visibility, for example at large fashion chains that sell their products through various physical and online channels. “I did not literally ask if colleagues were vaccinated”.
South Korea: little privacy
For a long time, South Korea was better than anywhere else in the world, but at the end of 2021 the infection figures will also rise here. However, a large proportion of people have already been vaccinated and relatively few South Koreans become seriously ill.
The measures that the country is taking are unimaginable by Dutch standards. The government makes a lot of privacy-sensitive information public through various apps. This way residents of their own district can see how old an infected person is and whether it is a man or woman. The digital tools provide insight into exactly where covid patients have been. For example, compatriots can choose not to go to a restaurant where many infected people have recently been.
In South Korea, the mask is mandatory in all public indoor areas and outdoors where it is not possible to keep 2 meters away. Traveling to the country is possible again, but there are restrictions. Upon arrival, you must be quarantined for 2 weeks before you can participate in Korean life.
Germany: rules per state
The measures that Germany is taking against the spread of the coronavirus are comparable to the rules in the Netherlands. The corona pass is needed in many places and you also get a green check mark on a 3G basis with our eastern neighbors: vaccinated, cured or tested. However, you cannot count on the same treatment as at home everywhere in Germany. The federal states take extra measures if the infection figures give reason to do so. The rules therefore differ per location. For example, Hamburg will be operating on a 2G basis at the end of 2021. For example, in the catering and cultural sector, entrepreneurs are allowed to refuse unvaccinated people. Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia also tightened up the rules. Especially when it comes to wearing masks and testing policy. For example, in Bavaria there are indoor locations where your negative PCR test can only be 6 hours old.
United Kingdom: a bit stricter
If you want to go to the United Kingdom (UK), a proof of recovery is not sufficient. You must be fully vaccinated. Just like America, the UK has slightly stricter rules than we are used to in the Netherlands. Not everyone is aware of this, Roy Liebrand notes. He is co-owner of NicheTravel, which among other things organizes trips to sports competitions. “People regularly knock on the door who have booked a trip and discover too late that the requirements are stricter than they suspected.” Liebrand tries to help them, but can’t solve everything. “If you book a trip in the current time, you know that there are possible restrictions and limitations. As a customer you also have your own responsibility to read and prepare yourself.”
NicheTravel does not ask customers about their vaccination status, but points them all to Wijsopreis.nl, which contains current information for international travelers. Before departure, the customer will receive further information from us. “Due to the number of destinations and constantly changing conditions, it is impossible for us to advise all our customers individually. At Wijsopreis.nl you will always find the most current information. First and foremost, I think everyone should be allowed to make their own choice, but also have to deal with the consequences. As a travel organization, we cannot bear the responsibility for this.”
Limits to cancel
NicheTravel has discussed the corona passport in the workplace. “There are seven of us and we talk openly about these things. In our industry, I personally do not think it is advisable to travel unvaccinated. We do trips of a few days. Then you don’t have time to quarantine everywhere.”
After 2 bad years in which traveling was often impossible or complicated, NicheTravel is doing better again. “But now everything is uncertain again. It remains difficult. In the beginning we provided everyone with vouchers. Those customers have their money back or booked another trip. We are now setting more limits on cancellations. In the event of code red, cancellation of an event or, for example, a football match without an audience, we will refund the travel sum. All other situations are no reason for us to cancel free of charge.”
NicheTravel includes the labels footballreizen.com, sportreizen.com and trainingkamp.com. The company arranges fully arranged trips to international sporting events events and training camps for sports clubs. “As a customer you have a responsibility to prepare”.
Russia: money for shot
Gifts, money and an extra week of vacation. The Russian government is doing a lot to boost the vaccination rate. 80% is the goal, 35% is the reality by the end of 2021. The population has too little confidence in its own Sputnik vaccine, reports the Gelderlander. As the infections and death toll mount, schools and non-essential shops remain closed. The government calls on unvaccinated people over 60 to go into lockdown for 4 months.
The rules are not the same everywhere in Russia. The authorities in St. Petersburg have already announced strict lockdown rules until at least 80% of the population is vaccinated.
Like Italy and Russia, more countries have taken far-reaching measures. Austria introduced lockdowns for unvaccinated people in November 2021. For example, if 1 in 4 IC beds is occupied by covid patients, unvaccinated people are no longer allowed to enter the catering industry. The worse the situation gets, the tougher the rules for unvaccinated people become.
In Singapore, unvaccinated patients will have to pay for the costs themselves from 8 December 2021 if they are hospitalized with covid. The account can go up to about 16,000 euros.
Australia did not really have many infections until the winter of 2021. When the figures rose, the response was quick and resolute. Melbourne residents were in lockdown for no less than 262 days. Now that more than 70% has been vaccinated, the population is given more freedom. These increase further once the vaccination rate exceeds 80%.
In Belgium, healthcare workers still have 4 months to get vaccinated. From April, everyone in the profession must be vaccinated. Anyone who refuses can count on being fired.