Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Labour department clarifies on rights of Covid-19 patients

Mar 04. 2020
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By THE NATION

The Department of Labour Protection and Welfare has clarified several issues involving the benefits and rights of employees affected by the outbreak of the new coronavirus or Covid-19.

“Employees who are detained in quarantine for 14 days under the order of the Ministry of Public Health as per the Communicable Disease Act BE 2558 are considered temporarily relieved of their obligation to work for the employer,” the department said in its press release. “However, the employer is also not obligated to pay the wage of absent employees, according to the principle of ‘no work, no pay’.

In case the employees have symptoms such as fever and suspect an infection, they can stop coming to work while continuing to get paid using sick leave as allowed by the labour law [30 days per year]. “However, if they have already used up their sick leave, they could use their vacation leave instead,” added the department. The number of vacation days are not specified by the law, but usually follows a mutual agreement between the employer and employees.

As for employees who are insured under Section 33 of the Social Security Act (those who are currently working under an employer), they will be entitled to 50 per cent of monthly pay, based on a maximum amount of Bt15,000 per month, when they take sick leave of more than 30 days, provided the 30 days of paid sick leave from the employer has already been used up. Other requirements for this compensation are, the insured person must have contributed to the Social Security Fund for more than three months before taking the leave, must produce a doctor’s certificate of sickness and show evidence of using 30 days paid sick leave from the employer. This compensation will be paid at a maximum of 180 days per year for any diseases except chronic one, which will be paid at a maximum of 365 days per year.

As for employees who are insured under Section 39 of the Social Security Act (those who used to work under an employer but have now quit and wish to preserve their insurer status by continuing to contribute to the fund), will be entitled to 50 per cent of their current wages, based on the maximum contribution of the insured person under Section 39 at Bt4,800 per month, when they take sick leave from their current job or as a business owner. Other requirements are similar to those of the insured under Section 33 minus the evidence of using 30 days paid sick leave from employer.

The benefits of Social Security will still take effect six months after the insured’s status ended, therefore if an employee takes sick leave within that period they will be entitled to the above-mentioned benefits.

Furthermore, those who just returned from countries announced as risk territories for Covid-19 or display symptoms similar to Covid-19 pneumonia, can get a free check-up at hospitals specified in their Social Security benefit list. “However, if they don’t have the symptoms but want to check up to make sure they do not have it, they will have to bear the expense,” the department said.

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