Why you won't necessarily get sick leave if you're put into quarantine

Senior legal advisor at Strata G Labour and HR Solutions, Tertius Wessels, spoke to CapeTalk's Abongile Nzelenzele about the rights and obligations of management and staff regarding the coronavirus.

Picture: 123rf

JOHANNESBURG - A labour advisor provides information on how employers and employees should manage a coronavirus outbreak in the workplace.

With the coronavirus officially in South Africa, both employers and employees are questioning the impact on the workplace.

Senior legal advisor at Strata G Labour and HR Solutions, Tertius Wessels, spoke to CapeTalk's Abongile Nzelenzele about the rights and obligations of management and staff regarding the coronavirus.

Wessels said there was an obligation on the part of the employer to avoid panic setting in and ensure that staff was educated.

"There is an obligation in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act to make sure the working environment is safe and healthy for all employees.

"There is a great deal of information and advice out there, especially on social media platforms, and not all of it is accurate or true.

"Employees need to follow the guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Department of Health and its National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD).

SICK LEAVE RIGHTS

How should employers manage sick leave in relation to COVID-19?

"If a medical doctor places an employee in quarantine, the employee should ordinarily receive a medical certificate and be entitled to sick leave.

"In other instances, an employee might be placed under compulsory quarantine, that is not necessarily enforced by the employer (as seen in the KZN case). And in cases like those, the employee will not necessarily be entitled to sick leave. It is a very unique situation, and there is nothing in law to compel the employer to pay the employee for that period of quarantine.

"I think it's incumbent on all employers to look at each individual case and consider the possibility of giving employees special leave for these particular incidents.

"An employee only has certain types of leave - and the requirement for sick leave is a valid medical certificate.

Being placed under quarantine is a precautionary measure.

Listen to the audio below for more.