Covid-19 in UAE: Employer should pay salary if an employee is put in quarantine

coronavirus in uae, covid19

Dubai - Large number of companies have been asking their employees to be in quarantine when they return from leave.



By Waheed Abbas

Published: Thu 19 Mar 2020, 10:38 PM

Last updated: Sat 21 Mar 2020, 2:58 PM

The UAE-based companies that are asking their employees to be in quarantine after returning from leave are obliged to pay salaries for the days they are quarantined due to Covid-19, a legal expert has said.

"If the employer demands or calls upon an employee to be quarantined for certain number of days after he/she returns to the UAE from leave or official foreign tour, then the employer may be obligated to pay the salary for the number of days the employee has been quarantined, as the said leave is on the instructions of the employer," said Ashish Mehta, founder and managing partner of Ashish Mehta and Associates.

"Based on this, the leave granted to the employee who has been quarantined for Covid-19 may be treated as sick leave and may come under the purview of Article 83 (2) of the Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 which states that employees has to be paid for the sick leave," he added.

However, there are no specific guidelines or any ministerial orders issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation related to the payment of salary for the private sector employees who are quarantined for Covid-19.

A large number of companies have been asking their employees to be in quarantine when they return from leave. But if the employer refuses to pay salary to the employee who has been instructed to undergo quarantine by the employer, then it may be a violation of Article 83 of the Employment Law.

However, if the employees voluntarily quarantine themselves, they may not be eligible for sick leave salary. But if they are tested positive for Covid-19, then they may be eligible for sick leave salary.

Gunce Gurgur, head of human resources, Mercer, said for those returning from one of the high-risk countries listed by the World Health Organisation, the company is asking employees to work from home for 14 days to ensure they are symptom-free before returning to the office.

"As an extra precautionary measure, we are also requesting anyone who has returned from any other international travel to work from home for a minimum of five days upon return to the UAE," said Gurgur.

waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com


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