‘Provide paid quarantine leave to factory workers’: Karnataka HC

Most of these workers are not covered under the ESI scheme and not liable to receive the 28 days of paid leave during the quarantine period.


While organisations are taking adequate measures to maintain health and safety across plants and factories, there are still cases of workers contracting the virus outside the plants. In such cases, workers have to go through the necessary quarantine phase. However, for many quarantining is not an affordable option as they survive on their wages alone.

In this matter, the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) has filed a petition with the Karnataka High Court stating that although workers infected with the virus have to be quarantined for 14 days, some managements are refusing to grant them paid leave for the time period. Under such circumstances, the petition contested, workers find it difficult to undergo compulsory leave without pay. It further pointed out the lack of a standard operating procedure for factories, in such circumstances.

These workers lie outside the purview of the Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) scheme. Workers covered under ESI are granted 28 days of paid leave during the quarantine period.

The Karnataka High Court has, therefore, asked the state government to submit a response to the litigation filed by AITUC. The division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Ashok S Kinagi issued directions to the state government to provide 14 days of paid quarantine leave to these workers, who are not covered under the ESI, in case they contract the virus.

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