Argentina: Extraordinary Leave Granted to Employees Returning from COVID-affected Regions
On 6 March 2020, Argentina’s Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security issued Resolution 178/2020, granting an exceptional and voluntary leave to all employees, in the government or private sector, who have returned to Argentina from destinations where there is a substantial and sustained transmission of the Coronavirus (COVID-2019), in accordance with the recommendations of the National Ministry of Health. The Resolution does not define which countries have higher rates of sustained human-to-human circulation of COVID-2019 among their populations. However, at the time the resolution was issued, confirmed cases of COVID-2019 were reported in China, South Korea, Japan, Iran, Italy, Spain, France and Germany.
The resolution establishes that the extraordinary leave is voluntary, thus, it is not mandatory for the employee. It should be analysed on a case by case basis if the employer is entitled to unilaterally grant the extraordinary leave (even if the employee does not request it) or take any additional measures prior to the employee returning to the workplace. If the employee takes exceptional leave, this will not affect collection of his or her normal and customary salary, nor any additional benefit that the employee may be entitled to. Nor shall the exceptional leave be taken into account for the purpose of considering any other benefit the employee might be entitled to.
The recommendations of the Ministry of Health establish that, with the manifestation of symptoms (fever, combined with a cough, sore throat, or respiratory difficulty), together with having spent time a in coronavirus-affected area in the last 14 days, or having a close encounter with someone who has contracted a viral disease, it is advisable to i) avoid large crowds; ii) avoid public places; iii) avoid close contact with other people, i.e. within one meter; iv) seek immediate medical attention; v) provide any travel history to the relevant (medical) authorities; and vi) warn the appropriate authorities about any contacts with, or exposure to, people confirmed to be infected with COVID-2019.
The incubation period is estimated to range from 1 to 12 days. In order to control the spread of the virus, it is necessary to limit, as much as possible, person-to-person contact, wherein healthy individuals are exposed to persons infected with the virus. To effectuate this method of risk prevention, employees shall be kept in isolation, at home, where they will be monitored daily by (health) authorities for a period of 14 days.
Accordingly, at the request of an employee who complies with these conditions, the employer should subsequently grant the leave for a period of up to 14 days, after the employee has returned to Argentina from one of the affected areas.
This report cannot be considered as legal or other advice by Allende & Brea or as including all the subjects of the matters described herein. For additional information on any matter related to labor issues in Argentina, please contact Nicolás Grandi (email@example.com) at +54 (11) 4318-9984.
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