India Law Update - Karnataka Labour Department's directive on COVID-19 outbreak



On March 5, 2020, the Karnataka Labour Department issued a circular (“Circular”) requiring all establishments in the State to grant 28 days of paid sick leave to any employee who has been infected by the COVID-19 virus (“Coronavirus”). These precautionary measures laid out by the Government aim to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

An employee who has been affected by Coronavirus and who is working in an establishment to which the Employees’ State Insurance Act (“ESI Act”) applies needs to obtain a medical certificate from the nearest ESI hospital or pharmacy and provide the same to the employer. The employer is then required to provide the 28 days of paid sick leave to the employee. The ESI Act applies to employees who earn monthly wages up to. Rs. 21,000.

If establishments do not fall under the ambit of the ESI Act, employers are required to provide 28 days of paid leave to employees infected by the Coronavirus, under Section 15 (3) of the Karnataka Shops and Commercial Establishments Act (which deals with paid sick leave).

The Circular places an onus on the regulatory authorities to ensure that the above protocols are complied with by all employers.

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