Employers not allowed to ask staff with positive ART result to come to work even if they feel well

SINGAPORE – Those who test positive on a Covid-19 antigen rapid test (ART) must self-isolate and work from home even if they are physically well.

If their job does not allow them to work from home, employers must treat the period of absence as paid sick leave, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in an advisory on Saturday (Sept 25).

Employees who test positive via an ART but are physically well are advised to self-isolate at home for 72 hours, and then do another ART test.

If the result is negative, they are allowed to come back to work.

If they test positive, they should continue to self-isolate and take another ART every 24 hours until they receive a negative result.

The ministry said that there is no need for those who test positive to go to a clinic to take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test if they have no symptoms, unless they are in a vulnerable or high-risk group.

Said MOM: “Such individuals are advised to self-isolate to monitor their health, instead of rushing to the nearest general practitioner clinic or hospital, which may risk exposure to other infections.

“This is a risk-calibrated approach that will allow Singapore to focus the use of primary care and other healthcare resources on Covid-19 patients at higher risk of falling severely ill.”

Some individuals are still required to undergo PCR testing if they are ART-positive – even if they are physically well.

These are those working in healthcare, eldercare and in pre-schools or primary schools.

This also applies to young children in pre-school or primary school.

The same goes for those under a quarantine order, stay-home notice or who have received a health risk warning via SMS, vaccinated seniors above the age of 80 and unvaccinated seniors above the age of 70.

Every employee in Singapore who has at least three months of service is entitled to up to 60 days of paid sick leave, including hospitalisation leave.

MOM said employers should exercise compassion and flexibility in supporting the needs of their employees if they do not have enough paid sick leave to cover their isolation period.

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