Due to the recent increase in incidences of COVID-19, there has been an update to the guidelines on quarantine payments to employees. Here are the main points of the update, for your convenience.
What are quarantine payments?
In certain circumstances, an employee is entitled to quarantine payments from his or her employer. The payment amount shall be equal to payments for sick leave and does not include entitlement to payment for the first day of quarantine. However, an employee may choose to use a vacation day to cover his or her first day of quarantine, at the expense of his or her accrued vacation time. The employer may deduct only three sick leave days for quarantine.
Is there a difference in the entitlement to quarantine payments for a vaccinated employee and an unvaccinated employee?
Yes. A vaccinated employee required to quarantine by the Ministry of Health, a recovering employee who has provided the employer with certification to such effect, or an employee who cannot be vaccinated and has provided the employer with certification to such effect, is entitled to the full quarantine payment. For such purposes, a vaccinated employee is an employee who received a first vaccination dose and upon commencement of quarantine 30 days had yet to elapse since the date of the first dose, or an employee who received two doses and upon commencement of quarantine seven days had yet to elapse since the second dose. In addition, such employee must provide the employer with certification of receiving one or both doses. In contrast, an unvaccinated employee is entitled to only 75% of the quarantine payment. Therefore, and as previously explained, the employer is fully authorized to ask employees about their vaccination status.
Must quarantine payments be paid to an employee who is absent to care for a quarantined child?
Yes. One parent, vaccinated or not, absent from the workplace in order to care for a quarantined child is entitled to quarantine payments. This provision shall not apply when the quarantine results from a return to Israel from a trip abroad. A child for these purposes is a minor under the age of 16 or a person with a disability. We wish to note that a parent whose child is sick is entitled to sick leave payments under ordinary conditions and is not entitled to quarantine payments.
Is the employer entitled to reimbursement from the State for quarantine payments?
Yes. The period for submitting requests to receive reimbursement for quarantine payments for employers shall be extended from 60 days from the end of the month in which the employee was in quarantine to 90 days. This is to lighten employers’ burden and allow them additional time to prepare. Please note it is now possible to file a claim for reimbursement of quarantine payments for a parent absent due to quarantine from January 1, 2021 through August 5, 2021. Retroactive reimbursement claims for quarantined parents can be submitted from October 15, 2021 through December 15, 2021.
Will an employee who returned from a private trip abroad be entitled to quarantine payments?
Unlike a business trip, an employee who traveled abroad on a private trip is not entitled to quarantine payments.
When does entitlement end?
The end of the quarantine period is the earliest possible date and is case-specific (e.g., return from overseas, exposure to a verified patient, guidelines on testing as a condition for ending quarantine, etc.). An employer must ascertain when the relevant employee’s quarantine period ends and when he or she may exit quarantine per the guidelines.
What about work from home?
A quarantined employee working from home is entitled to his or her regular salary and not quarantine payments. In such cases, the employer may not receive reimbursement from the State for payments.
We remind you that the Coronavirus Cabinet recently issued recommendations for work from home in the private sector. At this stage, regulations to such effect have yet to be enacted and this is merely a recommendation. However, based on experience, we recommend refreshing and revising work from home protocols and preparing for stricter guidelines.