COVID-19 | Comparative Analysis of Paid Sick Leave across Nations

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, various countries introduced a package of social and labour market measures to support workers and their families. This brief discusses the paid sick leave introduced by various countries.

Country

Name of the Law Description

Comments

United Kingdom Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Employees are entitled to SSP for upto 28 weeks and SSP is 95.85 pounds per week and workers earning less than £120 per week do not receive anything. Lowest mandatory sick pay for COVID-19 sufferers amongst OECD countries.
Australia[1] Fair Work Act An Employee has to provide reasonable evidence of sickness/ unexpected emergency for the sick leave, to the employer. Following leaves are available during covid-19:

(i) JobKeeper scheme – Subsidy for businesses affected due to Covid-19. Scheme is valid till 29th March, 2021.

(ii) Annual leave- Employees can take annual leave at half pay to manage the impact of Covid-19.

(iii) Sick and carer’s leave- Employees can avail paid sick/ carer’s leave, if available, else unpaid leaves. Government has introduced financial support if employee is unable to work.

(iv) Other paid leave- An employee gets long service leave after working for the same employer for a long time. All employees (other than casuals) are entitled to 2 days of paid compassionate leave per occasion. An employer can give extra paid leave to their employees if they choose to.

(v) Unpaid leave- some employees can avail 2 weeks unpaid pandemic leave, if they are employed under an affected award.

  Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

(Federal)

The payment is available to workers in all six states, who:

(i) don’t have paid sick leave and can’t earn an income because they have to self-isolate or quarantine due to a positive coronavirus case; or

(ii) are caring for someone with coronavirus.

Singapore[2] Employment Act

 

5-day paid sick leaves are granted to the employees who have Covid-19 symptoms and could be extended by the employer.

 

  Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) Employees are covered under WICA wherever they work, including from home. It covers employees affected by Covid-19, if arising from and in the course of work.
UAE MINISTERIAL DECREE NO. (279) OF 2020[3] Employer and Non-National Worker – by agreement with the non-national worker, either of the following:

(i) implementing the remote working system.

(ii) Give the worker a paid leave.

(iii) Give the worker an unpaid leave.

(iv) Reduce the worker’s wage on a temporary basis during the said period.

(v) Reduce the worker’s wage permanently.

 

  UAE Labour Law Employees based onshore, who are subject to the UAE Labour Law only have a statutory entitlement to sick leave once they have passed any probation period (which can be up to 6 months) and completed an additional 3 months’ continuous service. They are then entitled to a minimum of 90 calendar days’ statutory sick leave per year, at the following rates:

(i) full pay for the first 15 calendar days of absence;

(ii) half pay for the next 30 calendar days; and

(iii) no pay for the remaining 45 calendar days.

India Ministry of Labour and Employment, 20.03.2020

 

 

 

Employers advised not to terminate the employment of their employees or reduction in salaries during the pandemic. Advised for paid sick leaves.[4]

 

Advisory

 

  Government of Karnataka vide notification No 170 dated 05.03.2020 Karnataka was the first state who had explicitly set out that all employers are required to provide infected employees, covered under ESI Act, 28 days’ mandatory paid sick leave.[5]

If the establishment do not fall under the realm of the ESI Act, an infected employee can still claim 28 days of paid leave under Section 15 (3) of the Shops and Commercial Establishments Act.

 

1st State in India to implement 28 days paid leave for sufferers
  Rule by Government of Rajasthan Special 30-day Quarantine leave may be sanctioned to the Health Care Workers in Rajasthan.[6]
South Africa

 

 

 

Section 22 , Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75 of 1997 (BCEA) The employee must be provided paid sick leave under S. 22 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75 of 1997. As per Section 23 of the Act, the employer is not required to pay the employee if the employee is absent from work for more than two consecutive days unless the employee provides a medical certificate stating that the employee was unfit for work on those days.
  Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act 130 of 1993 A special paid leave granted to the employees who have ‘Occupationally acquired COVID-19’, for self-quarantine recommended by a registered medical practitioner.
USA Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

(expired 31.12.2020)

The FFCRA law provided two types of paid leave for COVID-19 reasons: Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Expanded Family Medical Leave (EFML).

 

  Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 The Act came in force on 27.12.2020 and did not extend the FFCRA obligations.

Section 286 of Act – Extension of Credits for Paid Sick and Family Leave – It amends the FFCRA to allow employers to claim payroll tax credit for providing FFCRA leave for employees until March 31, 2021. Therefore, employers may voluntarily elect to provide FFCRA leave from January 1, 2021 to March 31, 2021 and if they do so, they can apply for a payroll tax credit for the amount of the FFCRA benefits paid during this extended time period.

 

USA California

California Paid Sick Leave Program[7]

The accumulated leaves of the employee or the provided by the employer under the Paid Sick Leave law. This may be 1 hour accrued for every 30 hours worked or 3 days/24 hours provided per year; employer may cap accrual at 48 hours and use at 3 days or 24 hours, whichever is greater, within a 12-month period.

Paid to the employee at their regular rate of pay or an average based on the past 90 days.

USA Arizona

Notification[8] of Need for Leave for COVID-19 Related Reasons (01.01.2021 onwards)

Employees who may be absent from work for reasons related to COVID-19 on or after January 1, 2021 should use the Notification and work with their employers regarding which type of leave is appropriate for their situation.
USA New Jersey

1.Paid Sick Leave

2. Federal Unemployment benefits (federal) (ends on March 13, 2021)

1.     Employers of all sizes must provide full-time, part-time, and temporary employees with up to 40 hours of earned sick leave per year.

2.     Anyone currently collecting unemployment in any amount is also receiving the $300 FPUC supplemental benefit.

 

USA New York

COVID-19 Sick Leave Law[9]

Paid sick leave is available to an employee for a maximum of three orders of quarantine or isolation, provided positive report of Covid-19 is submitted to the employer under the NY COVID-19 Sick Leave Law. The three-order maximum will only come into play in the following situations:

(i) When an employee is absent for a period of mandatory quarantine or isolation, returns to work, and then, at some later time (no specific time limitation established), tests positive for COVID-19; or

(ii) When an employee who was subject to an order or quarantine or isolation continues to test positive after the initial quarantine or isolation period ends.

USA[10] Virginia

Public Health Emergency Leave Policy (PHEL)

 

The paid leave hours provided in the Public Health Emergency Leave Policy (PHEL) will return to a maximum of 80 hours per leave year from 10th January, 2021. The exception approved in March that expanded paid time off to 160 hours will expire. The following exceptions related to PHEL eligibility/usage will continue:

(i)    Caring for family members diagnosed with COVID-19.

(ii)   Reasonable time to make Child/Dependent Care arrangements if related to COVID-19 business closings.

Reasonable time to make/adjust to Virtual or Hybrid Learning arrangements.

Virginia is the first state in the nation to enact a permanent workplace safety standard for COVID-19.
USA Pennsylvania

Temporary COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, passed on 8th December, 2020[11]

  1. Covered employees who work 40 hours or more per week are entitled to a minimum of 80 hours of COVID-19 Sick Time.
  2. Covered employees who work fewer than 40 hours per week are entitled to a prorated amount of COVID-19 Sick Time equal to the amount of time the employee is otherwise scheduled to work or works on average in a 14-day period, whichever is greater.
  3. Covered employees whose schedules vary from week to week, the amount of COVID-19 Sick Time available is based on the number of hours the employee was scheduled to work over the past 90 days (including hours for which the employee took leave of any type).
  4. Covered employees who are exempt from the federal Fair Labor Standards Act are assumed to work 40 hours per week, unless their normal work week is less than 40 hours, in which case the amount of COVID-19 Sick Time available is based on the normal work week.[12]

 

USA Washington, USA

 

Employers may provide more generous paid sick leave than that required by the paid sick leave laws. An employee can use the accrued leaves as part of paid sick leaves too.[13] Flexible

 

 

*Tanvi Singh, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

[1] https://coronavirus.fairwork.gov.au/coronavirus-and-australian-workplace-laws/pay-and-leave-during-coronavirus

[2] https://www.mom.gov.sg/covid-19

[3] https://www.mohre.gov.ae/en/media-center/corona-virus-covid19-procedures.aspx

[4] https://labour.gov.in/sites/default/files/Central_Government_Update.pdf ; DO No. M-11011/08/2020-Media dated 20 March 2020, Ministry of Labour and Employment.

[5] https://www.nishithdesai.com/information/news-storage/news-details/article/covid-19-leave-for-employees-in-bengaluru.html

[6] GOVERNMENT OF RAJASTHAN FINANCE DEPARTMENT RULES DIVISION No.F.I(l) FD/Rules/2012

[7] https://www.labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019/

[8] https://hr.az.gov/sites/default/files/Notification%20of%20Need%20for%20Leave%20for%20COVID-19%20Reasons%20-%2001.21.2021.pdf

[9] https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2021/01/guidanceonuseofcovid-19sickleave_0.pdf

[10] https://www.dhrm.virginia.gov/docs/default-source/covid-19/phel-update-120220.pdf?sfvrsn=be14a2f1_0

[11] https://pittsburgh.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=4701797&GUID=2D2C3863-DF9E-4127-A514-976420C4A7FD&Options=ID%7cText%7c&Search&FullText=1

[12] The provisions of this Chapter shall expire upon expiration of either the COVID-19 emergency disaster Declaration of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the COVID-19 emergency disaster Declaration of the City of Pittsburgh; whichever is sooner. S.2, Temporary COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, passed on 8th December, 2020

[13] https://lni.wa.gov/

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