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Guidelines for employers - Isolation pay

13.12.20 | 09:48  
  1. We wish to inform you that the issue of paying employees for isolation leave has been resolved within the framework of the Economic Assistance Program Law (The Novel Coronavirus) (Temporary Provision) (Amendment No. 3), 5780-2020 (hereinafter: "the Law").
  2. In addition to the issue of remunerating employees for absence from work due to isolation, the Law also regulates the extent of the reimbursement which their employer is entitlement to for paying that remuneration. 
  3. The main provisions of the Law are as follows:

Employee entitlement to isolation pay:

  1. According to the law, an employee is entitled to isolation pay for a period spent in isolation if he satisfies the following criteria: (1) The employee was absent from work because he or his child was under quarantine (2) The employee reported the isolation in compliance with the Home Isolation Order [1] and he presented a copy of that report to his employer (3) The period of the employee's isolation was stipulated in a home isolation order.

When shall an employee not be entitled to isolation pay?

(1)        Where the employee returned from a private trip abroad (as opposed to a work trip for his employer) - In this case the employee is required to bear by himself the full cost of the isolation period.

(2)        Where the employee returned from a work trip abroad - The employer is required to pay the employee for the entire isolation period and may not deduct the isolation pay from the employee's sick leave entitlement.

(3)        Where the employee worked during the isolation period - The employee shall not be entitled to isolation pay (but to his salary) and the employer shall not be entitled to indemnification for that period.

(4)        Where the employee was infected with the coronavirus (for any reason) - The employee is entitled to sick pay and not to isolation pay.

Isolation pay

  1. For the duration of his isolation (unless one of the disqualifying reasons apply to him as aforesaid) an employee who was quarantined shall be entitled to receive isolation pay from his employer, less one day (for which he shall not be remunerated) which the employee shall be entitled to take with full pay as one of his unused vacation days.
  2. Should a beneficial arrangement apply to the employee's place of work by law, a collective agreement or a personal agreement (such as full pay from the first sick day), then the employee shall also be entitled to payment from the employer for the same day for which there is no statutory entitlement to payment. However, an employer [2] may inform the employee that the provisions of the beneficial arrangement do not apply with regard to isolation leave.
  3. The employer shall deduct from the balance of the sick days of an employee who is receiving isolation pay the number of work days during which that employee was absent from his job. However, the employer may deduct up to 4 sick days (at the most) with respect to absence due to isolation.
  4. Sick days cannot be deducted for days on which the employee worked during the isolation period.
  5. Where the isolation period exceeds the balance of the employee's sick days, the employer can deduct the shortfall from future sick days which employee shall accumulate.
  6. Should the employee be left with a negative balance of sick days on the date on which the employer-employee relationship ends, then the employer may redeem the negative balance which accumulated from the employee's unused vacation days. However, should the balance of the employee's vacation leave on the date on which his employment ends be insufficient, the employee shall not be charged for the unredeemed sick days.
  7. The employer shall pay his employee for the isolation days on the same date on which he would have paid him his salary had he worked, provided that the employee gave the employer a copy of the report to the Ministry of Health no later than 7 days before then. Should the employer not be furnished with a copy of the report prior to the said deadline, then the isolation money shall be paid on the next salary payment date following the date on which the copy of the report was given to the employer.
  8. Under the Law, the same rules apply to an employee's absence during the isolation period as those which apply to his absence during a period of illness, including with regard to the prohibition on dismissal, payment of provident fund contributions and accumulation of seniority.

Reimbursement of employers with respect to isolation pay

  1. An employer who paid an employee isolation pay shall be entitled to the following rates of reimbursement from the National Insurance Institute:

13.1   For one work day during the isolation period with respect to which the employer paid
          his employee isolation pay under this chapter - 100% of the cost which the employer
          actually incurred.

13.2   For the remaining work days during the isolation period with respect to which the
          employer paid insolation pay:

(a)      For an employer who on 1st August 2020 employed up to twenty workers - 75% of the
          cost which the employer actually incurred.
(b)     For an employer who on 1st August 2020 employed more than twenty workers - 50% of
          the cost which the employer actually incurred.

The date for submitting the reimbursement application - An employer's application for reimbursement may be submitted to the National Insurance Institute online, within 60 days (at the most) from the end of the month in which the employee's isolation period ended. Reimbursement requests may be submitted from 1.2.2021 onwards.

  1. The reimbursement shall only be given for those days during which according to his report to the Ministry of Health the employee was in isolation, rather than days during which the employee worked and for which he received a salary from the employer.
  2. It is clarified that the amendment to the Law shall only be in force from 29.10.2020 until 31.3.2021. However, an employer who paid an employee for days spent in isolation between 1.10.2020 and 28.10.2020, in accordance with the previous arrangement that was rescinded by the High Court of Justice in HCJ 1633/20 "Sal" Nursing Services v. State of Israel (judgment given on 27.7.2020), shall also be entitled to submit an application and receive retroactive reimbursement for them.
  3. We shall of course be pleased to be at your service and to provide individual legal advice on the subject should it be required. 

*** The information contained in the above review is provided for informative purposes in an abridged format and under no circumstances does it constitute a substitute for legal advice.

[1] Pursuant to the Public Health Order (The Novel Coronavirus) (Home Isolation and Miscellaneous Provisions) (Temporary Provision), 5780-2020

[2] Excluding the State or a budgeted entity as defined in section 21 of the Budget Foundations Law.