What are the rights, obligations and benefits in the event of quarantine and employee isolation?
Quarantine is aimed at the seclusion of a healthy person who is exposed to infection. Persons crossing the border of the Republic of Poland, which is the external border of the European Union, are subject to mandatory quarantine. The Regulation of the Council of Ministers of 9 October 2020 on the establishment of certain restrictions, orders and prohibitions in connection with the occurrence of an epidemic (hereinafter referred to as “the Regulation”) in § 3 lays down exceptions in which the quarantine obligation is excluded. Those exceptions apply primarily to persons crossing the border in the course of their professional activities. As of 24 October 2020, persons cohabiting with a person returning from abroad and with a person who has been in contact with an infected person shall not be referred for mandatory quarantine.
According to Paragraph 3a of the Regulation, the obligation to quarantine also applies to a person who is directed to carry out a test for SARS-CoV-2 virus. The quarantine shall then begin on the day following the day on which the test is sent and shall continue until the date on which the result is obtained. If the test shows a negative result, the quarantine obligation is automatically waived and, in the event of a positive result, the isolation obligationbegins.
In addition, the legislation indicates that a person cohabiting with a person who has been found to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 shall, from the date on which the person has obtained a positive diagnostic test, be quarantined for up to 7 days from the date of termination of isolation of the infected person. Importantly, in such a case, the quarantine obligation arises by law, the health inspection authority does not issue a decision on this subject. Thus, it is now only when an infected person obtains a positive result that the obligation to quarantine the household is required.
Isolation is aimed at the isolation of a person infected with SARS-CoV-2 who has tested positive for the virus. A person who has been found to be infected with the virus from the date of obtaining a positive test result is subjected to mandatory isolation in house conditions, unless he has been referred to an isolation or hospitalization. Isolation, in case of non-manifestation of symptoms of the disease, lasts 10 days. In case of symptoms, the end of the isolation period is decided by the primary care physician, who decides to extend the period of isolation. Termination of isolation should take place no earlier than 13 days after the onset of symptoms.
Where a person is placed in quarantine or isolation, this information shall be included in the information and communication system. The basis for the payment of benefits for the period of absence from work due to the obligation to carry out quarantine or isolation in house conditions is therefore the information contained in the ICT system indicated above. The Social Insurance Institution shall make available on the profile of the contributor information on quarantine or isolation. Accordingly, in order to obtain sick pay or sickness benefit, it is no longer necessary to submit a decision of the health authority – the information contained in the system is a sufficient basis for obtaining the benefits due. In the event of non-provision of the above information by the ZUS in the manner specified above, the employee shall, within 3 working days from the date of completion of quarantine or isolation, submit to the employer or the obliged entity to pay the benefit, a written statement confirming the quarantine or isolation during the specified period (the declaration can also be made through information and communication systems). In such a situation, the employer or the entity obliged to pay the benefit requests the State Sanitary Inspection to confirm the information contained in the submitted statement.
A person who has been subjected to compulsory quarantine due to a confirmed infection of a cohabiting person, in order to obtain sick pay or sickness benefit for periods of absence from work, shall make a declaration to the employer or the person liable to pay the benefit of the benefit that quarantine isnecessary.