Karnataka

Quarantine leave duration becomes bone of contention during Covid-19 third wave

In January 2021, the State Government had made it mandatory under Disaster Management Act to provide 14 days quarantine leave to workers infected by COVID-19 in Karnataka.

In January 2021, the State Government had made it mandatory under Disaster Management Act to provide 14 days quarantine leave to workers infected by COVID-19 in Karnataka.

 

In the midst of a COVID-19 surge, duration of the quarantine leave for infected workmen has become a bone of contention.

Though the Karnataka Government has been petitioned to reduce the quarantine leave duration from 14 days to seven, several industries are learnt to have already reduced the leave quantum without waiting for approval from the government.

In January 2021, the State Government had made it mandatory under Disaster Management Act to provide 14 days quarantine leave to workmen infected by COVID-19 in Karnataka. While several industries are following the rule, a number of large industries have unilaterally reduced the number of days — ranging from 5 days to 7 days, union representatives allege.

Revised guidelines

The revision of quarantine period by the Health Department seems to have led the industries to take the unilateral decision. The department revised the period of quarantine for ‘at least seven days’ from the earlier 14 days. It has also said that the person should not be reporting fever for three preceding and consecutive days.

Citing this reason, the Karnataka Employers’ Association (KEA) wrote to the government last week seeking reduction of quarantine leave to 7 days.

“The rule of 14 days has not been reviewed yet by the government and industries cannot be unilaterally taking decisions,” said M. Satyananda, secretary, AITUC. Further, he said, “There is no mechanism to test if the person does not have fever for three consecutive days. There could be instances of workmen reporting to work because there is not enough leave,” he added.

Industries’ stand

The industry, citing shortage of personnel in the production line leading tosupply disruption, has been seeking government intervention. In fact, the KEA, in its letter to the Chief Secretary, said, “Though the medical recommendation has been for seven days, the January 2021 guidelines recommended 14 days. As a result, it is observed that many employees who have reported positive have been availing quarantine of 14 days.” The association president B.C. Prabhakar also said that some workmen were ‘misusing’ the situation, which was impacting work.

Labour Commissioner

Labour Commissioner Akram Pasha said that the 14-day quarantine leave remains in place since it was done under the Disaster Management Act. "There is no proposal currently to reduce the number," he said. When asked if there has been any complaint to the department over reduction of leave by Industries, he said that they had not received any.


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Printable version | May 27, 2022 9:31:34 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/quarantine-leave-duration-becomes-bone-of-contention-during-covid-19-third-wave/article38318893.ece