The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has issued guidelines regarding sick leaves to all employees during the isolation and quarantine period associated with Coronavirus (COVID-19).
This is effective starting from 21 April 2021.
The Ministry clarified that the employee, who is confirmed to have COVID-19 and the result of their PCR test shows that he/she has an active (infectious) infection, must be placed under appropriate isolation for a period not less than 14 days, adding if the test result shows that the employee has an infection which is non-infectious, then the employee must be placed under appropriate isolation for a period of 7 days, and the "EHTERAZ" app will be in red for the duration of the health isolation, indicating that the said period of isolation is considered "sick leave", and in the event that the infected employee is required to enter the hospital and the isolation period is extended for a period of more than 14 days, the entire period will be considered as sick leave until the recovery from the disease.
The Ministry also clarified the classifications for employees who have been in close contact with a person with COVID-19 disease. If the employee has been fully vaccinated, or have contracted the COVID-19 virus during the past six months, and meets the Ministry of Public Health's definition of close contact, he/she will be exempt from quarantine, provided that the result of the PCR test is negative after contact with the infected person, and that he shall self-quarantine for a day until the test result appears, and he shall continue to monitor himself for any symptoms similar to COVID-19 during the next fourteen days.
As for the employees, who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 and have not had the disease before, who are in close contact with a person with an active (infectious) COVID-19 infection, and who meet the MoPH's definition of close contact, they must be subject to appropriate quarantine for a period of 14 days, while the employees, who have contact with a person with a reactive (non-infectious) COVID-19 infection, will be subject to quarantine for a period of seven days, and the "EHTERAZ" app will be yellow for the duration of the quarantine. The employees who are in the quarantine period must monitor themselves for any symptoms of COVID-19 disease. At the end of the quarantine period and after proving no infection with COVID-19 disease through a PCR test, the employee can return to work if the status of the EHTERAZ app changes to green again. The Ministry of Public Health stated that this period is called "the quarantine period" and is not considered sick leave, but rather work from home.
The MoPH urges all employees to adhere to preventive measures in the workplace, and employers must ensure a safe work environment with adequate workspace and good ventilation for their employees in accordance with the guidelines of the Ministry of Public Health in this regard, and employers must ensure that their employees adhere to preventive measures and obligate any employee who shows signs or symptoms of infection with COVID-19 to undergo a virus examination and self-isolate until the results of the examination appear.
It is noteworthy that health isolation is defined as a period of time during which people with active COVID-19 infection need to be isolated at home (if the house allows this) or in a health facility designated for isolation until they are no longer contagious for others. This period is usually 14 days. While quarantine is a period of time during which a person in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case must be separated from others until recovery from his infection with COVID-19 disease is proved through a PCR test, and this period may reach 14 days.
It is noteworthy that the guidelines for employee leave during isolation and quarantine related to COVID-19 disease are published on the websites of the MoPH and the Ministry Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs.
Cover image credit: Shutterstock
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