Questions and answers regarding quarantine payments

Act No. 24/2020 on temporary payments for the remuneration of individuals subjected to quarantine according to instructions from the health authorities despite not being ill. 

 

 Conditions of quarantine payments 


1. Who is eligible for quarantine payments?

Those who could be eligible for payments according to legislation are:

  • Employers who have paid wages to employees who were quarantined in the period of February 1st, 2020 until December 31st 2022. 
  • Employees who were quarantined in the same period but did not receive wages from their employers.
  • Self-employed individuals who were quarantined for the same period.

2. What is meant by ‘direct instructions from the health authorities’?

Direct instructions refer to instructions/orders from The Directorate of Health to quarantine. This does not include general instructions from The Directorate of Health or directions regarding assembly bans.

3. What are the conditions for payments to companies due to quarantined employees?

  • The conditions for payments are as follows: Employee or child in their custody have demonstrably been quarantined in accordance with instructions from health authorities.
  • Employer has demonstrably paid wages to the employee while they or a child in their custody was quarantined.
  • The employee was not able to work either partially or fully from the location of the quarantine, or other factors which have not prevented the employee from being able to come to work at the workplace.

4. What at the conditions for payments due to employee’s loss of wages while in quarantine?

An employee may be paid their wage loss if they have not been paid wages due to operational difficulties or income loss of the employer. Conditions for payments according to legislation are as follows:

    • Employee or child in their custody have demonstrably been quarantined in accordance with instructions from health authorities. 
    • The employee was not able to work either partially or fully from the location of the quarantine, or other factors which have not prevented the employee from being able to come to work at the workplace.
    The Directorate of Labour is permitted to request a confirmation from the employer that the wages have not been paid and information regarding the reason why.

5. What are the conditions for payments to quarantined self-employed individuals

Conditions for payments to self-employed individuals are as follows:

  • The self-employed individual or child in their custody was quarantined
  • They were not able to work either partially or fully from the location of the quarantine, or other factors which have not prevented the self-employed individual from being able to work. 

Other conditions are as follows:

  • The self-employed individual has active operations.
  • That social insurance and income tax has been paid at source in accordance with tax authorities’ regulations for at least 3 months in the past four years before the application date, or in another regular manner according to rules set by Iceland Revenue and Customs.  

6. What is the difference between a GP's certificate and a certificate from the Chief Epidemiologist and the Department of Civil Protection?

GPs and / or other doctors can issue certificates to their patients due to absence from school or work. However, the issuance of such certificates is not a confirmation that an individual has been quarantined in accordance with the direct instructions from the health authorities.

Certificates from the Chief Epidemiologist are issued to an individual who has been ordered to be quarantined according to direct instructions from the health authorities, ie. by the Department of Civil Protection or the Chief Epidemiologist, this is specified on the certificate.

Those who have been quarantined according to the direct instructions of the health authorities can download such certificates at https://www.heilsuvera.is/.

Please note that screening quarantine (skimunarsóttkví) certificates are not issued.

7. What is meant by homecoming special precaution (heimakomasmitgát)?

Homecoming special precaution means that the person in question must take special precaution and not be around more people than necessary. This means that the person cannot go to work, meetings, or parties where more than ten people are gathered.

8. Are individuals entitled to quarantine payments if they are coming from abroad and are in screening quarantine (skimunarsóttkví)?

Quarantine payments are not made to wage earners or self-employed individuals if they have been abroad, even though they may have been fully aware that they would be required to quarantine upon their arrival in Iceland, provided that the health authorities have decided that those residing in the country in question must be quarantined upon return.

9. Are payments made on the grounds of Act no. 24/2020 if individuals are in assessment quarantine (úrvinnslusóttkví)?

According to information from The Director of Health, the quarantine is an intermediate quarantine that lasts while the infection is being traced until a decision is made on whether an individual should be quarantined. During the course of infection tracing, the person in question is required to follow instructions that apply to quarantine until it is known whether the individual needs to go into quarantine and they have been notified by the infection control authorities. The quarantine usually lasts for 1 to 2 days

Individuals who are only registered in assessment quarantine are not registered in quarantine at The Director of Health. As a result, no payments are made on the grounds of Act no. 24/2020 to or for those individuals who are registered in assessment quarantine. Individuals who do go into quarantine following an assessment quarantine are considered to have started a quarantine period from the time the assessment quarantine began.


Application process 


1. How does an employee apply for payments who has not been paid wages from their employer while in quarantine?

Applications are made via My pages for jobseekers (Mínar síðar fyrir atvinnuleitenda)

The number of days must be registered for which the individual was unable to due to being quarantined. It is possible to select whole and/or half days.

A copy of the individual’s payslip for the previous calendar month before they were required to quarantine must be submitted.

The employer is required to approve/confirm the application via My pages for employers (Mínar síður fyrir atvinnurekanda)

2. How does an employer apply for payments for employee wage-costs who have been required to quarantine?

Employers apply for payments via My pages for employers (Mínar Síður fyrir atvinnurekanda) on a separate application form.

The employer registers all of the employees that have been paid wages but were unable to work either partially or fully, or the proportion of who were quarantined.

The employer registers the days that the employee was unable to work and submits necessary supporting documents, should The Directorate of Labour request them. It is possible to select whole and/or half days. The employee is required to approve/confirm the application via ‘My pages’.

3. How do self-employed individuals apply for payments due to wage-loss while being required to quarantine?

Self-employed individuals log into My pages for jobseekers (Mínar síður fyrir atvinnuleitenda) and register the days that they were unable to work while in quarantine.

4. Are quarantine payments required to be submitted before a certain date?

Applications for payments must be submitted to The Directorate of Lab0ur before the 31st of March 2023.

There will be no entitlement to payments after this date. All necessary information regarding applications must be submitted to The Directorate of Labour within 45 days from the date of applications. After this time, The Directorate is permitted to reject the application.

5. When can I apply for quarantine payments?

You can apply for quarantine payments after the 15th day of the next month after the quarantine ends.

Example: If an individual is quarantined in September, it is not possible to apply for payments until after October 15th.


Amounts 


1. What is considered to be wages when calculating payment amounts for employees?

Wages include any kind of salary and other remuneration under the Act on Social Security contributions for the month of which the employee was required to quarantine. 

2. Payment amounts to employers

Payments to employers are based on the employee’s entire wage amount in the calendar month or calendar months of which they or child in their custody were quarantined.

Maximum payments for each day that the employee is quarantined or cares for a child in quarantine are 21.000 kr. per day.

To calculate the daily payment amount, a month shall be based on 30 days.

3. Payment amounts to employees (who have not been paid wages from their employers)

In the instance that the employee who was required to quarantine has not been paid wages from their employer due to operational difficulties or income loss of the employer, the payment shall be based on the employee’s entire wage in the calendar month or calendar months of which they or their child were required to quarantine. However, total amounts to employees may never be higher than the difference between the total salary for the month that the employee or their child were required to quarantine and the total salary for the previous month. 4% of the payments are paid to the employee’s pension fund. In addition, The Directorate of Labour pays an 11,5% complementary contribution.

Maximum payments for each day that the employee is quarantined or cares for a child in quarantine are 21.000 kr. per day.

4. Payment amounts to self-employed individuals

Payments to self-employed individuals according to legislation are based on the average monthly salary and shall be based upon the average calculated remuneration of which social insurance has been paid for the income year of 2019.

To calculate the daily payment amount, a month shall be based on 30 days. Maximum payments are 21.100 kr. per day.


Quarantine Payments


1. Are triple-vaccinated individuals entitled to quarantine payments?

On the 7th of January 2022, amendments were made to the quarantine system of triple-vaccinated individuals. These individuals are nevertheless considered quarantined, and are registered in the Director of Health‘s quarantine database. If an employee has not been able to work while in quarantine, it is possible to apply for payments from the directorate and this change will therefore not affect applications and payments in quarantine at The Directorate of Labour if other conditions for payments are met.

2. If the individual is in a high-risk group and self-isolates, are they entitled to payments according to legislation?

No, if the employee self-isolates they do not qualify for government subsidised payments due to quarantined employees. The payments are restricted to those who have been required to quarantine as directed by the health authorities.

3. I am being paid unemployment benefits and required to quarantine, should I apply for quarantine payments?

Unemployed individuals do not apply but continue to be paid unemployment benefit payments while they are quarantined.  

4. Are individuals ages 70 years and older able to apply for quarantine payments?

If the individual fulfils other legislative conditions for payments, then they may be entitled to quarantine payments.  

5. Are individuals aged 16 to 18 years able to apply for quarantine payments?

If the individual fulfils other legislative conditions for payments, then they may be entitled to quarantine payments.

6. Is the employee entitled to payments if he falls ill due to Covid-19 while in quarantine?

No. From the time that they fall ill due Covid-19 they are entitled to sick pay from their employer. Upon full utilisation, they are entitled to sick pay from their labour union.

7. Are there a maximum amount of days which payments can be applied for due to quarantine?

No, the legislation does not restrict the amount of days. Therefore, the individual could be entitled to payments for all the days that they are required to quarantine and was unable to work during this period, providing that other legislative conditions are fulfilled.

8. Is an employee entitled to payments on the grounds of the legislation if their spouse falls seriously ill due to Covid-19 infection?

No, if their spouse becomes seriously ill, they are entitled to payments from their labour union’s sick-leave fund if they are not entitled to wages from their employer.

9. In instances of forced closures, i.e. beauty salons, are employees entitled to payments?

No. The legislation only applies to those who have been directly instructed by the health authorities to quarantine. They do not apply to general instructions or advice on assembly bans.

10. Are child day-care providers entitled to payments for the days of care that have been cancelled due to the quarantine of a family that had a child in care, in exchange for the day care provider dropping their fee?

No. One of the conditions for quarantine payments is that the individual themself or a child in their custody are required to quarantine. The legislation does not apply in instances where work has been cancelled due to clients or customers being in quarantine.

11. Is the applicant entitled to payments on the grounds of the legislation who need to undergo homecoming special precaution (heimakomasmitgát)?

No. Homecoming special precaution means that the person in question must take special precaution and not be around more people than necessary. The measure includes restrictions on infection control, but it is not a quarantine under the definition of the Act on Quarantine Payments. Further information is available on The Directorate of Health’s website here: https://www.landlaeknir.is/um-embaettid/greinar/grein/item46791/Special-precaution-for-COVID-19

12. Is the applicant entitled to payments under the legislation who are subject to screening quarantine (double screening and 5-6 days quarantine)?

If other conditions are met, the applicant may be entitled to payments if they are subjected to so-called screening quarantine. The most important condition is that the applicant is not entitled to payments if the person applied for has gone abroad, even though they may have been aware when they left that they would have to quarantine upon returning to Iceland.

13. Is the employer entitled to payments on the grounds of the legislat if an employee has to leave work due to screening?

No. It is only possible to apply for payments on the grounds of the legislation for those who need to be quarantined according to the direct instructions of the health authorities.


Entitlement to guardians of children in quarantine: 

 


1. Is an employee entitled to payments according to legislation if their child is required to quarantine?

Yes. The legislation applies to payments to employees or self-employed individuals when a child in their custody is quarantined in accordance with instructions from the health authorities and the child is under the age of 13 years or under the age of 18 years and receives services on the grounds of the Act on disabled individuals with long-term support needs.

The legislation does not apply to guardians of children who are required to be home due to assembly bans or other disruptions to school activities. 

2. Are guardians of children entitled to payments on the grounds of the legislation if their child falls ill due to Covid-19.

No, if the employee’s child falls ill due to Covid-19, they are entitled to sick pay form their employer (up to 12 days). Upon full utilisation, they are entitled to payments from their labour unions sick-leave fund.

3. Are guardians of children in high-risk groups who are placed in preventative isolation entitled to payments according to legislation?

If the child is quarantined according to direct instructions from the health authorities, then their guardians may be entitled to payments according to legislations if other conditions of the legislation are fulfilled.

4. Employees who are required to be at home with a child in quarantine, are they entitled to payments?

Yes, if the child is in their custody has demonstrably been quarantined in accordance as instructed by the health authorities and if other conditions of the legislation have been fulfilled.

See line 1 of conditions of quarantine payments. 

5. Are pregnant women entitled to payments in quarantine?

Yes, if they have been directly instructed by the health authorities to quarantine, and if other conditions of the legislation are fulfilled.  


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