MOM updates work, leave arrangements for COVID-hit employees

If remote work is not possible, a paid sick leave is in order for employees

MOM updates work, leave arrangements for COVID-hit employees

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has updated its guidelines on work and leave arrangements for employees who test positive for COVID-19.

Under its updated guidelines, MOM said employees who test positive for COVID-19 should immediately begin self-isolation and not report to the workplace.

"Employees should immediately inform their employer when they test positive for COVID-19 and begin their self-isolation at home. They should not report to the workplace," said MOM in its advisory.

Those who are physically well may be allowed to work from home (WFH) if they are able to do so, but if WFH is not possible, then employers should treat the period of absence as sick leave without requiring a medical certificate (MC).

"For employees who are unwell due to the infection, whether issued with a medical certificate or not, employers should similarly treat the period of absence as paid sick leave," MOM said.

Employees are required to self-isolate until they are able to present a negative antigen rapid test result, which they can take as early as 72 hours of self-isolation.

Read more: MOM reminds HR of the importance of 'workplace wellbeing'

For employers, the ministry reminded them that the negative self-administered antigen rapid test should be enough proof to allow an employee back to the workplace.

There is no need for recovery memo from the infected employee, similar to how the Ministry of Health (MOH) urged employers to refrain asking for MCs from staff.

"Employees should not be asked to take no-pay leave for the period of self-isolation," MOM added.

MOM previously issued a warning to employers who are insistent on requesting for MCs from COVID-positive staff, threatening to suspend their work pass privileges.

It comes after the MOH discouraged employers from requesting medical certificates.

"We urge employers not to insist that employees provide medical certificates or recovery memos if they have tested positive for COVID-19," said the MOH in a previous statement.

This aims to alleviate the burden on health workers who are forced to issue medical certificates for COVID-hit employees due to requests from employers.

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