Quarantine leave

What is quarantine leave?

Quarantine leave is a special leave entitlement which applies to employees who have been ordered to quarantine by the Superintendent of Public Health or other authorities. The quarantine leave is to be given in addition to any other leave entitlement, as it is not related to paid vacation leave. In the case of part-time work and reduced hours of work, quarantine leave is to be calculated at a pro-rata basis. 

What is the difference between quarantine and sick leave?

In the case of an employee testing positive for Covid-19, they are to be considered as sick, and therefore is to make use of sick leave. If the employee is under quarantine order and becomes sick, the employee should be put on sick leave until the sickness is over. Should the employee still have to remain under quarantine order following the termination of his illness, the employee will be put on quarantine leave once again. The following example may help clarify the matter:

Joe is served with a quarantine order after his son Paul, who works and still lives with his parents, tests positive for Covid-19. Joe is tested for the virus, and tests negative. Here both Joe and Paul are following a quarantine order, however, whereas Joe is on quarantine leave, Paul is on sick leave because he is sick with the virus. Should Joe test positive eventually, he will be put on sick leave for as long as he tests positive for Covid-19.

When an employee is sick, only the sickness entitlement applies. Therefore, a quarantine order only does not allow an employer to place an employee on sick leave.

It is highly recommended that the employee should present medical certificates throughout the period of their sickness even after the paid sick leave has been used up completely.

 How are employees paid during quarantine leave?

As stated in S.L., quarantine leave is “to be granted to the employee without loss of wages”. This means that a full-time employee in quarantine should receive their full wage for the duration of the quarantine order – this excludes employees who have been diagnosed as positive for Covid-19. In the case of part-timers, the same principle is to apply, with the wages being calculated pro-rata.

A quarantine order can only be imposed by the Superintendent of Public Health or by any public authority who holds such power at law. Therefore, the employee cannot impose any additional period of quarantine onto an employee if their official quarantine order period has ended.

Once Paul’s quarantine order is lifted by the Public Health Authority, his employer cannot prevent Paul from returning to work extra precaution. Paul’s employer may decide to resort to forced leave; however, Paul can challenge his employer’s reason for forced leave.

Any wages covering a period of quarantine leave includes all statutory entitlements (public holidays, government bonuses, etc).​