The Karnataka High Court has asked the state government to clear its stand on whether, if a worker or an employee is forced to undergo quarantine on the ground that he is a primary contact or is forced to undergo quarantine because he is tested positive, whether the quarantine period or the period required for undergoing treatment for COVID-19, can be treated as the period spent on duty.
A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Aravind Kumar have directed the state to respond on this important issue on the next date of hearing, August 19. Recently, the High Court decided that the period of quarantine undergone by the staff members of District/Trial Courts shall be treated as on duty subject to some conditions. Chief Justice Abhay Oka and other judges of the court recently welcomed staff who resumed duty, after recovering from Covid-19.
The bench gave the direction while hearing a petition filed by All India Central Council of Trade Unions. The plea is filed in regard to the service conditions of housekeeping and other allied staff working in COVID-19 Hospitals and other designated centres where COVID-19 patients are being treated. It states that the workers are exposed to the very real risk of contracting the said disease due to the failure of the authorities to take all precautionary steps to protect the health of the workers.
Further it is said that several guidelines, protocols, policies have been issued by the World Health Organisation and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India in regard to following precautionary measures and ensuring safety and health of the housekeeping and other allied hospital workers, however the same is not implemented.
The plea prays for directions to authorities that, in the event of any housekeeping workers and allied staff, contracting Covid-19, the employer-Hospital shall take care of their treatment and not alter any service conditions or terminate their employment on this count, and pay their wages till they recover and return to duty in view that the illness has been contracted in the course of their employment. Direct government to provide PPE Kits to all housekeeping and allied staff.
The Karnataka HC has issued a circular stating that the quarantine period of court staff will be treated as 'on duty'.
The Central Government has issued a direction that the doctors and health workers who go on quarantine should be treated as 'on duty'.
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Click Here To Download Order