Uganda: Can Vulnerable Employees Apply for Medical Leave Over COVID-19?

If an employee has an underlying medical condition that compromises their immunity, therefore making it unsafe for them to work during the coronavirus pandemic, do they qualify for medical leave from work if they work in a sector that requires employees to work from office or go to the field? Loyce

Dear Loyce, COVID-19 has already impacted the world of work in very profound ways and by the time humanity survives this pandemic our world of work would be a completely changed space.

First of all working remotely is expected to become the new normal as most businesses will realise that it is cost effective not to congregate people in offices to deliver results and optimally serve customers. The impact of new ways of working will be more felt in the service industry.

The long COVID-19 lockdowns and quarantines would have taught us that we can actually become more productive working remotely while enjoying the benefits of work life balance since many people would be working from their homes instead of commuting to offices daily.

As for the people with underlying medical conditions, the best advice is to keep them away from exposure by encouraging and setting them up to work remotely. This would save them from the risks of exposure during commuting to and from work. The employees with compromised immunity don't have to apply for medial leave because they are not actually sick or unfit to work.

They are only vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic due to their medical history (which had never stopped them from being productive workers in the first place). Employers with such vulnerable staff are advised to create conducive conditions and apply technologies for them to work remotely. This is likely expected to become the new normal in the workplace, post COVID-19.

Moses Ssesanga

Head Human Resource

NMG - Uganda

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