As COVID-19 cases skyrocketed overnight recently, employers are now taking measures in protecting the company and its employees. This includes placing employees at risk in quarantine. The popular question now is ‘What leave should I deduct for employees quarantined by the doctor, government or under the company’s order?’
Allow me to redirect you to the main legislation which is the Employment Act 1955, Section 60F for sick leave. It states that upon being found unfit to work by a registered medical practitioner, an employee may be placed under sick leave or hospitalisation leave. This therefore, answers a portion of the above question.
We at MECA are of the opinion that Section 60F also applies to government-imposed quarantine as the isolation order is from the federal government applicable to all. The policy makers have also gone to the extent of passing a new law in order to govern this situation.
Now the difficult question is what about company-imposed quarantine? Here we urge you to come up with a policy on travel to high risk areas. In the policy, it should be included that the company highly discourage employees from travelling to such places and the company must be informed in advance if an employee needs to travel there. If anyone insists on travelling, the company shall impose a 14 days quarantine whereby his or her sick leaves shall be utilised. In the event that no more sick leaves are left, then the employee will be placed on hospitalisation leave, unpaid leave or any other leaves agreed upon. With the release of this policy, it shall be binding upon all employees unless anyone decides to resist it.
As for employers who do not have such a policy but currently is dealing with the issue, it is best to talk to the employee, and agree amicably to the deduction of sick leave. We find transparency, courtesy and empathy always places the matter in a better chance of being resolved.
Through these uncertain times, it is best for all companies to consider preparing against the above and all other human resources related risks. This would not only assist in protecting the employees, but also business sustainability in terms of cost and avoiding legal sanction. We at MECA wishes for everyone to stay safe and healthy and do reach out to us if you require any assistance. Together, we can beat this.