MANILA, Philippines – The absence from work of government personnel due to COVID-19 quarantine, isolation, or treatment will now be considered excused, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) said.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the CSC said the policy is contained in the amended interim guidelines on the use of leave credits for absences due to coronavirus infections.
The agency said that under Memorandum Circular 2, s. 2022 dated January 18, absence from work for every instance of the required quarantine period, isolation, and/or treatment for government workers who are “infected or identified as close contacts of a suspect, probable, and/or confirmed cases of COVID-19 while in the performance of their official functions, (onsite or WFH arrangement)” shall be considered as excused absence.
“They may be required to adopt a work-from-home arrangement depending on the nature of their work” pursuant to the guidelines on alternative work arrangements contained in the memorandum, the CSC said.
Previously, this provision only applied to public health workers, it added.
The CSC said excused absence refers to the period when a government worker is not required to report for work due to required quarantine period, isolation, and/or treatment, and/or announcement of work suspension, but are entitled to pay.
The required quarantine period refers to the prevailing number of days required for a person to undergo quarantine, or separation and restriction of movement while waiting for swab tests results or if the person will become sick.
Meanwhile, the isolation period refers to the separation of a person who is sick with a contagious disease for purposes of treatment and monitoring.
“Absences incurred from undergoing the required quarantine period, isolation, and/or treatment after official travel from countries with or without localized COVID-19 transmissions or from local areas under community quarantine are considered excused absences,” the CSC said.
“For personal travel, only the required quarantine period may be excused, while the isolation and/or treatment period shall be charged against leave credits,” it added.
Absence from work for every instance of the required quarantine period for government workers who are “infected or identified as close contacts of a suspect, probable, and/or confirmed cases of COVID-19 due to personal activities” shall also be considered an excused absence.
“In both categories, the employees may also be required to adopt a work-from-home arrangement while they are awaiting swab test results or completing the required quarantine period,” the CSC said.
“However, in the event that they become sick, the period of their isolation and/or treatment shall be considered sick leave and charged against their leave credits,” it added.
The agency noted that absences incurred from undergoing the required quarantine period, isolation, and/or treatment after personal international travel without approved travel authority before or after the declaration of a state of public health emergency due to COVID-19 shall be charged against leave credits.
Absences incurred from undergoing the required quarantine period, isolation, and/or treatment due to personal activities in violation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging and Infectious Diseases’ protocols, shall also be charged against leave credits, it added.
When returning to work, employees will be required to submit their application for leave, and applicable documents, including certificate of completion of quarantine, medical certificate clearing them to report back to work, and medical records showing COVID-19 treatment.