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Who contracted covid-19 or influenza is required to work? Rights and Obligations

What are the rules for the worker who has contracted covid-19 and/or flu? The questions are many. Laws are always changing and must be closely followed. 

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Since the beginning of the new coronavirus pandemic, the world of work has been going through several major changes. Whether it is the imposition of remote work, the creation of provisional measures to maintain employment or the flexibilization of labor laws. Although many of these issues have already been resolved, the recent increase in Covid-19 cases and the influenza epidemic has companies on the alert again.

Both companies and their employees still have many doubts about the rights and duties of the worker who has contracted covid-19 or influenza. After all, in addition to the serious symptoms that these diseases can cause, they are also highly contagious, especially the variants circulating in Brazil at the moment: omicron and H3N2. Therefore, there is a need to protect the work environment from the risk of contagion.

But, what are the rules for the worker who has contracted covid-19 and/or flu? Is it possible to continue working remotely or is it necessary to take time off work indefinitely? The questions are many, and we will answer them below.

Can anyone who tested positive for covid-19 and/or H3N2 flu take time off work?

Yes, as long as they present a medical certificate indicating the period of absence. Even if the employee does not show serious symptoms, he/she must social isolate to avoid contagion. In the case of covid-19, the Ministry of Health recommends seven days of leave for people who have mild to moderate symptoms.

And who has symptoms of covid-19 and/or flu, but does not have a medical certificate?

Without the medical certificate, the worker is not entitled to leave. A positive test for covid-19 and/or H3N2 is also not valid. In these cases, it is recommended to notify the company so that the appropriate measures can be taken.

Who tested positive for covid-19 and/or H3N2 flu and works from home can also take time off work?

Yes, as long as they present the medical certificate. Leave is recommended for people who are unable to perform their duties. When there is no manifestation of symptoms, the employee can continue working, since, in this case, he/she is already in social isolation.

Can the company oblige the employee who presents the medical certificate to work?

No. Companies are required to comply with the recommendations of the medical certificate. If this does not happen, the worker can and should take the case to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

What does the law say about risk groups?

According to Art. 1 of Law No. 14,151, “During the public health emergency of national importance resulting from the new coronavirus, the pregnant employee must remain away from face-to-face work activities, without prejudice to her remuneration”.

For other groups, such as the elderly and people with comorbidities, it is necessary to consider the company’s internal policies. However, remote work is recommended.

Can the company oblige employees to present the vaccination card for covid-19?

We have already discussed this topic here: “Can refusal of the vaccine lead to dismissal for just cause?“. In practice, the company must adopt policies to encourage vaccination in order to protect employees. If the worker refuses the vaccine, warnings and suspensions can be applied and, finally, dismissal for just cause.

Laws are always changing and must be closely followed. Here at Pryor Global, our team of experts is ready to help your business meet current regulations. Contact us and learn more about our solutions.

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