Civil servants who fall ill with Covid-19 while on duty will be fully looked after while they recover, even if there are complications that delay full recovery, with the Government now granting up to six months of sick leave on full-pay as well as paying all medical bills of front-line health staff.
Generally, civil servants are entitled to 90 days’ sick-leave on full salary if they are incapacitated by ill-health.
Although most people recover quickly from Covid-19, with the World Health Organisation’s latest protocols giving two weeks as the longest recovery period, there have been cases in other countries of people who, while no longer infectious, still suffer from complications and recurring symptoms, and this is a worry for front-line medical workers.
But, after realising the sacrifices and the risk associated with the frontline workers and essential services, the Government says over and above meeting their medical expenses, they will be given more time to recuperate if they need this.
Public Service Commission Secretary Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe, who announced the change, said the commission was looking at several adjustments to protect its workers.
“We have adjusted a lot of things to protect our workers, such as for how long can you be ill and still being paid a full salary. It has been adjusted from 90 days to 180 days. It is an adjustment of what is normal.
“There is normal coverage of the medical expenses for all civil servants, and we are also taking care of the medical expenses for frontline workers,” he said.
“We have said most Government workers should work from home. You will recall that we said 15 percent should report for their workplaces physically and that move is receiving huge support.
“But we realised that there is a need for more adjustments to cater for those who are going to work, risking their health and life to provide essential services to the people. As Government we are very grateful for the sacrifices and effort being put by our workers during this period,” said Ambassador Wutawunashe.
The negotiations are still continuing on a final agreement on improving civil servants’ terms of employment including their salaries and wages. Despite disruptions caused by Covid-19 restrictions, the Government is willing to conclude negotiations with unions representing civil servants over wages and other employment terms this month.
This follows President Mnangagwa’s authorisation of an interim salary increment and the US$75 a month Covid-19 relief allowances, paid outside the negotiations, to help civil servants while the details of a new package are being worked out. The pay rise and allowances were an interim relief measure pending the outcome of negotiations on employment packages.