Under a statutory amendment to the Economic Assistance Program Law (Novel Coronavirus) (Temporary Order), an employee must be paid salary during absences from work due to mandatory quarantine. The employer and the State will split the cost of such salary.
Below are the primary points of the new arrangement:
Entitlement to Payment for Quarantine Days
- An employee in mandatory quarantine is entitled to payment of salary for each day of quarantine, except for one day. This arrangement also applies to employees quarantining due to a child’s mandatory quarantine.
- An employee subject to an arrangement that entitles him to sick pay from the first day of absence is entitled to pay for the first day of absence due to mandatory quarantine as well, unless the employer notifies the employee that the new arrangement does not apply to quarantine days.
- An employee returning from a trip abroad on behalf of the employer, and who must enter quarantine as a result, is entitled to payment from the first day of quarantine.
- An employee returning from a private trip abroad is not entitled to payment of salary for quarantine days.
Quarantine Days’ Payment
- For the single day that does not entitle an employee to quarantine payment, the employee may choose to receive payment in lieu of a vacation day.
- For the days in which the employee is in mandatory quarantine, no more than four days will be deducted from the employee’s accumulated sick leave. In the event the employee does not have enough sick leave days, use of sick leave (up to four days) will be counted against the employee’s future accumulation of sick leave.
- Payment for quarantine days will be made at the time salary is paid.
- The employee must notify the employer of the mandatory quarantine at least seven days prior to the date of salary payment.
State Contribution to Quarantine Days’ Payment
Employees are entitled to reimbursement from the National Insurance Institute for payment of quarantine days to employees, at the following rates:
- For one day of quarantine – 100% of the cost of the employee’s daily salary.
- For the remaining quarantine period –
- Employers with up to 20 employees (as of August 1, 2020) – 75% of the cost of the employee’s daily salary.
- Employers with over 20 employees (as of August 1, 2020) – 50% of the cost of the employee’s daily salary.
- The State shall not contribute 100% of the cost of an employee’s daily salary for one quarantine day for employees returning from a trip abroad on behalf of the employer or for employees benefiting from an improved arrangement whereby they are entitled to sick pay from the first day of absence.
- Employers who paid employees sick pay for quarantining beginning on October 1, 2020, are entitled to reimbursements from the National Insurance Institute at the rates detailed above.
Please note that employees must report each of their quarantine days, under the People’s Health Ordinance Decree and the Ministry of Health’s guidelines, and provide their employers a copy of the report. An employer will only receive reimbursement for quarantine days an employee lawfully reported.
Reimbursement Application Procedure
Employers may submit an application via the National Insurance Institute’s website within 60 days of the employee’s return to work. The National Insurance Institute will publish on a future date its guidelines for application submissions, and we will update accordingly.