Client Update | Employment | February 2020

February 12th 2020

We have recently witnessed a worldwide outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. Israel's Ministry of Health has mandated that the coronavirus is dangerous and highly-infectious, such that there is a severe danger to public health. The illness is transmitted from person to person, while the estimated incubation period of the virus of 5-7 days (the range is 2-14 days).

On the 30th of January 2020 the World Health Organization declared the outbreak an international public health emergency.

On the same day the Director of Israel's Ministry of Health publicly announced that anyone having visited China within the last 14 days avoid public places, and workplaces in particular, for a period of 14 days following their last stay in China.

In light of the duration of the outbreak of the virus, an enforcement order was issued for the isolation of anyone returning from China to prevent the spread of infection within Israel.

On the 2nd of February 2020, a Public Health Ordinance was issued (2019 Novel Coronavirus) (Home Isolation) (Temporary order), 5780-2020 (hereinafter: "the Home Isolation Order") which imposes isolation within a residential home or other location in line with the quarantine criteria, for each of the following persons:

        • Anyone arriving in Israel from China (including via another country) in the 14 days prior to their arrival in Israel
        • Anyone who has been in direct contact with an infected person
        • Anyone who has been found by a medical professional to have been in direct contact with an infected person during the last 14 days

Direct contact with a patient is considered any of the following:

        • Exposure to an infected person within a medical institution, work in proximity to an infected person, or presence in a classroom with an infected person
        • Travel with an infected person via any form of transport within a distance of two seats from the infected person
        • Persons sharing a home with an infected person

Any close contact with an infected person raises concern that infection may have occurred.

The aforementioned ordinance stipulates that the employer of a quarantined employee shall not request nor allow said employee to enter the workplace during the course of their isolation period, even if the employee requests it.

The ordinance obligates an employee under isolation to notify their employer that they are to remain in quarantine, including the length of isolation.

The ordinance prohibits the termination of an employee due to their isolation.

The ordinance defines an employee as including volunteers and/or persons providing services to the employer, regardless of whether an employer-employee relationship exists.

These ordinances shall be in force until the 2nd of March 2020, although the duration may be extended in accordance with the spread of the virus.

As such, isolation orders issued under the ordinances will be applied to anyone returning from additional countries, and as such it is necessary to stay apprised of developments.

In parallel with the issuance of the ordinance providing instructions for employers, the Head of Health Services within the Ministry of Health has mandated that a certificate of illness shall be granted under the Sick Pay Law, 5736-1976, for any employee absent from work as a result of quarantine in accordance with the provisions of the Home Isolation Order.

This certificate of illness shall remain in force for the duration of the period declared by the employee, in accordance with the personal declaration made by the employee in this form issued by the Head of Health Services.

This employee declaration shall replace the normal certificate of illness as defined under Regulation 2 of the Sick Pay Regulations (Procedures for the Payment of Sick Pay), 5737-1976, namely, the employee shall not be required to present themselves for examination by a doctor, and their declaration regarding their stay in isolation and the duration thereof, shall be sufficient.

In the event that a work trip to any high-risk country/country with a confirmed outbreak of the virus has been planned, we advise you contact us for further advice.

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