What Should You Do if Your Workers Have COVID-19?
Decree 1109 of 2020 established various measures that must be considered when following up on cases of workers infected with COVID-19 or who had contact with infected individuals. Additionally, “Sustainable Selective Isolation” was regulated, understood as the guarantee that workers have to remain in mandatory isolation, due to their diagnosis or suspicion of contagion with this virus, without their income being affected. In this regard, the Colombian Ministry of Labor recently specified that treating physicians will be able to determine the need to grant medical leave to workers in consideration of the symptoms they have. In addition, physicians must consider whether or not workers have the possibility of carrying out their work remotely, through telework or work from home. Thus, in the event that workers can perform their functions under any of the aforementioned modalities and their health allows it, medical leave will not be necessary. On the contrary, if workers’ physical presence in the workplace is required, treating physicians must grant medical leave to allow them to comply with mandatory isolation.
In addition to the above, the Colombian Ministry of Labor established how to proceed with workers who belong to the Contributory Health Regime and the differences with those who belong to the Subsidized Health Regime, as follows:
- In the event that workers belonging to the Contributory Health Regime have medical leave: healthcare entities (EPS, by its Spanish acronym) or workers’ compensation administrators (ARL, by its Spanish acronym), will be responsible for recognizing payments to workers.
- In the event that workers belonging to the Contributory Health Regime do not obtain medical leave despite their diagnosis or suspicion of contagion with COVID-19: employers must allow workers to perform their duties through telework or work from home during the period that they must remain isolated, without their salary being affected. This measure is also applicable to those workers who, although the performance of their functions does not use information and communication technologies, can nonetheless perform them without requiring their physical presence in the workplace.
- In cases where workers belong to the Subsidized Health Regime: If workers have a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and comply with mandatory isolation, they will be entitled to receive a temporary economic compensation that corresponds to seven (7) days of the Colombian daily minimum wage, for a single time. In this case, whether or not they have a medical leave is not taken into consideration, only whether they complied with mandatory isolation.
In addition to the above, the Colombian Ministry of Labor reminded employers that they have different tools to protect and preserve jobs during the health emergency that lasts until June 30th, such as: (i) work from home, (ii) telework, (iii) annual, anticipated, and collective paid vacation, (iv) paid leave, (v) salary without provision of services, and (vi) compensable paid leave.
For more information regarding this topic, do not hesitate to contact us.
 Ministry of Labor, response No. 2EE2021410600000061823.