The obligation of an employee to pay for a COVID-19 PCR test — within the scope of the order of the Minister of Health of Armenia — is unconstitutional. This is what deputy of the opposition “Armenia” Faction of the National Assembly of Armenia Aram Vardevanyan declared live on Facebook, touching upon the decision of the Constitutional Court by which a section of the order of the Minister of Health with regard to COVID-19 PCR tests has been declared unconstitutional.
“The burden of the employee to pay at his or her expense is unconstitutional, and as to who will bear the burden, the decision of the Constitutional Court makes it clear that this won’t be moved to the domain of the employer, but the government. Although the Constitutional Court doesn’t state that the government is directly obliged, all the preconditions that it lists are, in rational conditions, more than enough to understand that there has to be an end to this and the government needs to take care of citizens,” Vardevanyan said.
According to the deputy, the Constitutional Court has perceived the phrase “the employee at his or her expense” in the order of the Minister of Health as a requirement to bear financial burden, which is unconstitutional.
The MP adds that the Constitutional Court also touched upon interference in the right of ownership in its decision. “Page 44 of the decision of the Constitutional Court states that the option of submitting a relevant certificate entails interference in the right of ownership of a person. The Constitutional Court recorded that the obligation placed under this order is interference in the right of a person,” he stated.
In its decision, the Constitutional Court also touched upon the pricing policy for the PCR test and also mentioned the amount of the minimum salary in Armenia which is AMD 68,000. “The Constitutional Court stated that this creates a problem in terms of proportionality. Basically, in one case, the Constitutional Court records interference, and in the other case, it records that there is a problem,” Vardevanyan said and went on to explain the decision by saying the following:
“In its decision, the Constitutional Court states that the Government of Armenia has discretion, that is, the Constitution doesn’t mandatorily state that the Government shall cover the expenses for PCR tests, but at the same time, it states that it doesn’t rule out the situation where the government assumes the financial burden due to a number of objective factors, including the amount of the minimum salary,” he said.