First of two parts
Government employees who test positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 can avail of a 14-day paid leave, according to a memorandum released last year by the Civil Service Commisson (CSC).
As stipulated in CSC memorandum circular #8, s. 2020 titled “Revised Interim Guidelines on the Use of Leave Credits for Absences Due to Quarantine and/or Treatment Relative to the Coronavirus Disease-2019 or COVID-19”),” public sector officials and employees are entitled to a paid leave of 14 calendar days to cover the required treatment and/or quarantine period for COVID-19. Keep in mind that this 14-day paid leave WILL NOT be charged against a state worker’s existing leave credits.
This 14-day paid leave can be availed by all public sector officials and employees regardless their status of appointment – whether it is permanent, temporary, provisional, substitute, coterminous, casual, contractual, or fixed term – and that it also covers local elective officials. A copy of the said memorandum can be accessed toward the end of this post.
It is worth pointing out that as per the abovementioned CSC memorandum, the 14-day paid leave can be availed by government employees regardless if they have been exposed to COVID-19 in the performance of their offical duties or due to personal or non-work related activities.
The CSC highlighted the following categories and scenarios:
CATEGORY ONE: Officials and employees coming from official or personal travel from countries with or without localized COVID-19 transmissions who underwent the required quarantine period and/or treatment for COVID-19.
Illustration: An employee of Department of Interior and Local Government who traveled to the United States needs to go through a 14-day quarantine period upon arriving in the Philippines – whether he or she eventually tests positive for COVID-19.
CATEGORY TWO: Officials and employees coming from official or personal local travel from areas under community quarantine who underwent the required quarantine period and/or treatment for COVID-19
Illustration: An officer of the Philippine National Police based in Albay (an area under modified general community quarantine or MGCQ) who traveled to Metro Manila (currently under modified enhanced community quarantine or MECQ) needs to go through a 14-day quarantine period upon returning to his or her province – whether he or she eventually tests positive for COVID-19.
CATEGORY THREE: Government officials and employees who underwent the required period of quarantine and/or treatment for COVID-19 due to localized transmissions while in the performance of their official functions, namely:
a. Frontline Service Workers, such as:
i. Public Health Workers (doctors, nurses, and other members of the health care team);
ii. Immigration officers and consular officers;
iii. PNP members and barangay officials assigned in checkpoints, including personnel of PCG, BOC and other agencies assigned as border patrols; and
iv. Those who are assigned as frontline service workers in all government agencies
b. Those who are under alternative work arrangements, such as but not limited to work-from-home, skeletal workforce, four-day workweek, and staggered working hours
c. Those who had exposure with co-employees who contracted COVID-19
Illustration: A doctor or nurse working in a government hospital needs to go through a 14-day quarantine period if he or she becomes exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
CATEGORY FOUR: Government officials and employees infected through local transmissions due to personal or non-work related activities, who:
a. Underwent quarantine in public health facility for observations; or
b. Went straight to the hospital for treatment and/or advised to go on quarantine at home because of mild to moderate symptoms.
Note: This includes those living with family member/s who are either considered as patient under investigation (PUI) or patient under monitoring (PUM).
Illustration: A public high school teacher working from home who got COVID-19 after contracting it from a relative who visited their residence can still avail of the 14-day paid leave.
While the CSC has made it clear that all government employees can apply for this 14-day paid leave, it is worth pointing out that what happens next if they will need more than 14 days to be treated depends on the nature of their work.
Illustration: Government employees providing frontline service like public health workers and police officers assigned in border checkpoints, for example, are entitled to the 14-day pay leave for every instance of required quarantine and/or COVID-19 treatment due to repeated exposure to the disease while in the performance of their duties.
Meanwhile, government employees who are not providing frontline service but nevertheless got COVID-19 again due to their personal activities will have to use their existing sick leave credits because they are no longer eligible to apply for the aforementioned 14-day paid leave.