Your Covid-19 questions answered

What if I have run out of sick leave and I get Covid-19?

08 July 2021 - 07:00 By unathi nkanjeni
An employee who presents with Covid-19 related symptoms must be excluded from the workplace and the employee is entitled to paid sick leave. Stock photo.
An employee who presents with Covid-19 related symptoms must be excluded from the workplace and the employee is entitled to paid sick leave. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Diego_cervo

As Covid-19 cases continue to increase, businesses around the country are facing an uphill battle with employee attendance.

Reasons for the absence from work may include an employee having Covid-19 symptoms, having been in close contact with another person who has tested positive for the virus, or having themselves tested positive. 

Can I get sick leave if any of the above happens? 

According to the government gazette issued in May 2021 by employment and labour minister Thulas Nxesi, an employee who presents with Covid-19 related symptoms must be excluded from the workplace and the employee is entitled to paid sick leave

If the employee's sick leave is exhausted they are entitled to illness benefits in terms of section 20 of the Unemployment Insurance Act.

Can I take leave to get vaccinated?

The gazette states that employers must provide employees with paid time off to be vaccinated and the employee must provide proof of the vaccination.

“Should an employee suffer side effects as a result of the Covid-19 vaccination and is unable to attend work after vaccination, the employer must, in accordance with Section 22 of the BCEA [Basic Conditions of Employment Act], place its employee on paid sick leave,” the gazette states.

“An employer may accept a Covid-19 vaccination certificate issued by an official vaccination site in lieu of a medical certificate.” 

When can I go back to work? 

An employer may allow an employee back to work without requiring viral testing only if the employee has completed the mandatory 10 days of isolation or the employee has undergone a medical evaluation confirming fitness to work. 


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