Czech government mulls full wage compensation for COVID-19 quarantined

Currently, those in quarantine collect 60% of their salaries; the change could encourage more people to undergo COVID-19 testing

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 05.12.2020 15:57 (updated on 05.12.2020)

The Czech government will discuss a proposal regarding full compensation of wages for people with COVID-19 who must stay at home, Deputy Prime Minister Karel Havlíček (for ANO) told Lidové noviny (LN) today.

This measure aims to motivate people to undergo COVID-19 testing. The antigen test will be free for the public from December 18.

Currently, people who test positive for COVID-19 are put into home isolation on sick leave, and receive just 60-percent of their wages.

Labor and Social Affairs Minister Jana Maláčová (Social Democrats, ČSSD), who is in charge of the benefits, agrees with the proposal, according to LN.

"We want to ensure that people are not harmed by testing," Havlíček said, adding that this measure could cost the state up to hundreds of millions crowns a month, depending on the number positive cases.

"We will open the discussion regarding a 100-percent wage compensation for those who stay at home with COVID-19 with the government on Monday."

The money would come from the Czech Republic's Antivirus program, which primarily serves to cover the wages of people employed at establishments whose operation was closed or limited due to the government measures.

At the same time, officials admit that this is not an ideal solution since people suffering from other diseases are in the same situation.

"This would be a special category," Havlíček affirmed.

"This is naturally a rather non-systemic step, but since we are in a special times, it could calm people down. If they stay at home with COVID-19, they will not have a 40-percent lower wage."

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This "investment" could pay off in time; the state would save on healthcare costs if more infected people stay at home and do not spread the virus to others.

The government is also preparing measures to motivate voluntary testing within companies, as well.

"We want to motivate companies by covering part of the costs of testing for them," Havlíček added.

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