Employees in Quarantine or Self-Isolation
The Prime Minister has advised that some employed persons identified through contact tracing that are tested, and who have an initial negative result, maybe required to be retested after 5 days. Until a 2nd negative result is received, those employees are required to self-quarantine.
What payments are due to persons with COVID-19 or placed in mandatory isolation?
The workplace’s usual sick leave and pay entitlements apply if someone is placed under mandatory isolation by a medical doctor or is diagnosed with COVID-19.
Employers may need to modify the usual process of reporting sick leave including extending the timeline for receipt of sick certificates.
Employees should advise employers as soon as possible if unable to report for work due to illness.
If someone is not sick but cannot work due to self-quarantine?
If an employee is self-quarantining, then they are not ready, willing, and able to work. The starting point, therefore, is that the employee is not entitled to be paid. As such there is no legal (‘statutory’) obligation to pay an employee who cannot work due to self-quarantine.
However, it is good practice for the employer to treat self-quarantine as sick leave and follow their usual sick pay policies or agree for the time to be taken as special leave or holiday. Otherwise, there is a risk that the employee will come to work to safeguard being paid. That person could then spread the virus, if infected, potentially causing even greater disruption to the workplace.
The employee must advise the employer as soon as possible if unable to work and should provide a reason and an estimation of likely time away from work.
It is important during this pandemic that all parties follow advice from health authorities. This includes, Ministry of Health and Wellness, World Health Organisation (WHO), Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
Barbados Employers’ Confederation