1. What is Quarantine leave?
"quarantine leave" means leave to be granted to the employee without loss of wages in such cases where the employee is legally obliged to abide by a quarantine order confining the employee to a certain area or to certain premises as determined by the Superintendent of Public Health under the Public Health Act or by any public authority under any other law;"
2. What is the duration of quarantine leave?
The duration of quarantine leave is determined by Public Health Authorities, which in case of travel is of 14 days as per legal notices (unless otherwise deteremined by Public Health Authorities). However, the period of quarantine can be less or more than the 14 days, as determined by Public Health Authorities.
3. How is quarantine leave paid?
Quarantine Leave is a special leave entitlement paid by the employer. In case of full-time employees ONLY, the employer is eligible to benefit from the Quarantine Leave Scheme managed by the Malta Enterprise. The reimbursement is of €350 per employee for the whole duration of quarantine. The Quarantine Leave Scheme is not eligible for part-time employees.
More information can be found on https://covid19.maltaenterprise.com/quarantine-leave/
4. Does a person need to have symptoms to be under quarantine?
5. Who needs to undergo mandatory quarantine?
Persons who need to go under mandatory quarantine are:
- Persons entering Malta after having travelled in any country. The 14 day period starts from the day after departure from any country to Malta, and ends at midnight on the 14th day. E.g. quarantine starting on 7th April ends at midnight on 21st April. This is enforceable by law. Failures to observe this obligation will result in fines of €3,000 each time a person is found to be in breach of quarantine. From the 1st July 2020, mandatory quarantine does not apply to people arriving from safe corridor countries, provided these people have resided in these safe corridor countries for 14 days prior to departure.
- Persons living in the same household as any of the above persons must also spend 14 days in mandatory quarantine. This is enforceable by law. Failures to observe this obligation will result in fines of €3,000, each time a person is found to be in breach of quarantine.
- Persons who test positive for the virus responsible for Covid19 need to undergo mandatory quarantine. The duration of mandatory quarantine is determined by public health authorities. This is enforceable by law. Failures to observe this obligation will result in fines of €10,000 each time a person is found to be in breach of quarantine.
- Persons identified by the public health authorities as close contacts of confirmed cases and who do not live with confirmed cases will be put under mandatory quarantine for 14 days from the last day of contact with the person who tested positive, provided they do not develop any symptoms related to Covid-19. This is enforceable by law. People breaking the mandatory quarantine will be fined €3,000 each time a person is found to be in breach of quarantine. A close contact who forms part of the household of a confirmed case and who lives with the positive case will need to remain in mandatory quarantine until cleared by public health (i.e. for as long as the positive case is under quarantine). This can be longer than 14 days.
6. What is the difference between preventive and mandatory quarantine?
The law does not differentiate between the two, nevertheless Public Health Authority defines Mandatory quarantine as legally enforceable self-isolation in your home, and NOT leaving for the period that one is required to quarantine for. During this period of mandatory quarantine, no visitors should be allowed. Those under quarantine should monitor for symptoms and self-monitor their temperature twice daily.
If the employer, as a preventive measure, requires employee/s not to report for work at the workplace, without the possibility of teleworking, then the employer has to incur the expense without the absenteeism being deducted from any of the employee’s entitlements. If however, the employee, on his/her own initiative decide to self-isolate this absenteeism will be deducted from the employee’s annual leave.
7. What is self-isolation?
- Self-isolation means that you must remain strictly within your household separated from the rest of the household members where possible.
- Stay away from others.
- As much as possible stay within a specific “sick room” using a separate bathroom and toilet. “Sick room” should always be adequately ventilated. Open any windows as much as possible. Air conditioners at home do not provide ventilation, but only change the temperature. You should eat meals within this same “sick room”. Where possible use a separate toilet. If this is not possible, use the toilet after the other household members and use your own separate toiletries. This should be then well ventilated with fresh air for a minimum of 1 hour, and thereafter carefully cleaned with a neutral detergent, followed by decontamination of surfaces using a disinfectant effective against viruses.
- You should wear a face mask within the home if you cannot be isolated from other members of the household.
- No visitors are allowed into your home.
8. If an employee has to take a swab test and is called for this test days later, how should the period be considered? Is it quarantine leave?
No, quarantine leave only applies when Public health authorities or any other public authority issue a quarantine order, unless the employee has been informed by Public Health Authorities that he/she has been in close contact with someone who tested positive should remain on mandatory quarantine and this before the order has been issued. The waiting time for the appointment and/or for the result has to be deducted from vacation leave or from sick leave if the employee is symptomatic.
According to L.N. 62 of 2020 where quarantine leave has been given the status of a special leave entitlement, quarantine leave will apply as soon as a quarantine order is issued.
9. Can an employer insists that the employee does a swab test?
No, only Public Health Authorities have the right to do so. But if the employee agrees to the employer’s suggestion, the cost for the waiting time is incurred by the employer which means that the absenteeism is not deducted from any of the employee’s leave entitlement.
10. Does an employee have to give a reason to the employer why s/he is under quarantine?
No, but if need be the Public Health Authorities will themselves contact the employer through contact tracing.
11. What certification does an employer ask for in case of an employee under quarantine?
The quarantine order issued by Public Health Authorities is sufficient.
12. Is quarantine leave eligible for the blue certificate to give to social security?
No, once a quarantine order is issued then the employee is on quarantine leave and no additional certification is required.