One of the top labour law experts in South Africa has assured citizens that they are entitled to a period of ‘paid leave’, if they are scheduled to get themselves a COVID-19 vaccine. Jan Truter, of LabourWise, also confirmed that laws passed last month allow workers to take fully compensated time off work if they are hit by the side effects of the jab.

Can I get paid leave if I’m going to have my vaccine?

Truter, the director of the firm, posted an article earlier this week, which confirmed the terms and conditions of taking paid leave for a very specific, and quite possibly life-saving reason: He explains that the time-off must be categorised as ‘special leave’, rather than for any reasons relating to sickness, if someone has an appointment to get themselves immunised.

“An employer must give its employees paid time off to be vaccinated. The employee may be required to provide proof of an appointment to be vaccinated. This obligation is relatively uncontroversial. Time off should not be regarded as sick leave though, as the employee who goes for vaccination is not too ill to work – but rather, it must be ‘special leave’.”

SA labour law ‘supports sick pay’ for jab side effects

So, how exactly should this work? Truter says that a ‘proof of vaccination certificate’ – which is given to all recipients of the COVID-19 jab – should be enough to prove to an employer that you had a valid reason for absence. The new law also extends to any illnesses caused by the vaccine, an eventuality which LabourWise say must be covered by workplaces:

“A vaccination certificate issued by an official vaccination site should be accepted as a good reason for absence in order to be vaccinated. Meanwhile, in cases of absence due to side effects in the case of voluntary vaccination, employees should also be entitled to paid sick leave – even if they have exhausted all of their days off.” | Jan Truter, LabourWise

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Presh JM Reporter

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