Workers on quarantine entitled to sick leave

PETALING JAYA: Workers, who are ordered to be quarantined for Covid-19, are entitled to sick leave, says the Human Resources Ministry.

“Workers on quarantine, under observation or home surveillance order cannot be forced to use their annual leave for the quarantine period.

“This is because annual leave is part of the worker’s rights.

“Employers can order their workers, who are unwell, not to attend work and grant them paid leave.

“They also cannot forbid their workers from coming to work without a quarantine order, issued by a registered medical practitioner, ” the ministry said in a statement.

It said employers, who do not provide paid sick leave for their workers during the quarantine period, would be committing an offence under Section 60F of the Employment Act.

The ministry said workers were entitled to between 14 and 22 sick leave days (excluding hospitalisation), depending on their years of service.

“For workers, who are given a quarantine period that exceeds their eligible sick leave, employers are encouraged to offer additional allowance to them.

“Employers have to provide paid sick leave or hospitalisation leave during the entire treatment period for patients with Covid-19 symptoms, ” it said.

The ministry also suggested a few steps for firms to reduce cost and avoid possible retrenchment measures such as limiting overtime, reducing numbers of working days or reducing working hours.

Companies could also implement temporary lay-offs in the form of a temporary shutdown by offering a reasonable salary and allowing employees to work elsewhere until their operations resume.

It said as a final resort, a fair pay cut across the board, could be considered if all other cost-saving measures have been implemented.

“Should there be a need to retrench workers, companies can refer to the guidelines at and provide a 30-day notice to the Labour Department.

“Those who fail to adhere can be fined up to RM10,000 for each offence, ” it said.

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