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Exposure & Illness

Learn what to do if you have a possible or confirmed COVID-19 exposure, other illnesses or are returning from international travel.
This guidance may continue to change due to the Omicron variant. Follow any direction Public Health and/or Workplace Health provides you. Ensure you are apprised of the latest information on the BCCDC website.

The information outlines what do to in the following situations and includes return-to-work guidance and instructions for coding any time off. This does not cover all scenarios; for any questions or concerns please contact the PHSA COVID-19 Resource Line at 604-875-7244. 

General coding information:

  • If you are a self-serve employee, you must complete the Leave form in WFM (Workbrain) and select COVID19, Illness or other options as determined by your circumstances outlined below. 
  • All other staff (who aren't self serve) must follow regular PEARL or booking off procedures for their department/program.

The following are guidelines and actions for an employee who is asymptomatic but has been exposed, or potentially exposed, to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Although concerns about potential exposure is understandable, employees who do not have symptoms of illness are expected to attend work as usual, unless otherwise directed by Public Health.

What to do

If you think you've been exposed to COVID-19:

  • Self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 10 days. Watch closely for symptoms of COVID-19, even mild ones.
  • If you get symptoms, self-isolate right away and check our testing page to see if you need to get tested.
  • If exposed at work, call the PHSA COVID-19 Resource line at 604-875-2155, or email occupationalhealthnursing@phsa.ca.
If self-isolation is required:
See the Self-Isolation guidelines and call PEARL 1-855-667-3275:
  • If asymptomatic, select Option 2 (COVID-19) and then, enter the number of days of self-isolation. 
  • If symptomatic, select option 3 (illness) and then enter the number of days of self-isolation

When to return to work

Unless you have been directed to self-isolate or you have symptoms, you may continue to attend work. For more resources see the If you are sick guidelines on the BCCDC website.

Staff who are unsure about returning to work can call the PHSA COVID-19 Resource Line:
  • 1-833-875-2155 (toll free) or 604-875-7244 
  • 7 days a week from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Code/leave type

If you are asymptomatic but have been advised by the PWHCC and/or the Medical Health Officer (MHO) to isolate or get tested, you (self-serve employee), or your scheduler/timekeeper, should code your time as follows.

PHSA:   

  • FT/PT Reg - Paid General Leave, reason code = COVID - Isolation
  • Casual status – Paid General Leave for any pre-scheduled shifts that are cancelled as a result of the requirement to isolate, reason code = COVID - Isolation
BCEHS:

  • FT/PT Reg - General Paid LOA
  • On-Call - General LOA (100% of average earnings over preceding three months of employment. Your manager needs to email HR@bcehs.ca with dates employee will be off)

If test is completed and is positive for COVID-19, see Positive COVID-19 Test on this page. 

 
Follow the guidance provided by Public Health, occupational health nurse, PWHCC or your primary care provider. For more resources see the If you are sick guidelines on the BCCDC website.

What to do

You should not report to work. Call PEARL 1-855-667-3275 and select “PEARL Illness”. Remember to keep your manager informed of your return-to-work status.

If exposure occurred at work:

  1. Call PWHCC at 1-866-922-9464.
  2. Call WorkSafe BC at 1-888-967-5377 to report the incident.

When to return to work

For those who are fully vaccinated and have mild illness, the time required to isolate has been reduced to five days from seven days. This means five days either from first experiencing symptoms or from a positive test, provided you don’t have a fever and your symptoms are improving. 

You are to wear a mask for another five days even in settings where a mask isn’t required. You can’t visit long-term care facilities during this period and attend gatherings but you can return to work (without another test) and to most daily activities. 

Those who are unvaccinated are still required to isolate for 10 days either from first experiencing symptoms or from a positive test (no change).


Code/leave type

You (self-serve employees), or your scheduler/timekeeper, should code your time as follows.


PHSA:

  • FT/PT Reg - Paid Sick Leave or WSBC claim. If sick banks are empty, use other paid time or Unpaid sick leave; reason code = COVID-19
  • Casual status –Paid General Leave for up to 3 days for pre-booked shifts that need to be cancelled as a result of the employee’s COVID-19 diagnosis; Reason code = COVID – Paid Sick
BCEHS:

  • FT/PT Reg - General Paid LOA
  • On-Call -  General LOA (100% of average earnings over preceding three months of employment. Your manager needs to email HR@bcehs.ca with dates employee will be off)
Managers completing an e-form for employees accessing Unpaid COVID Leave should use code UOS.
 
The following are guidelines and actions that apply if you have an illness with mild respiratory symptoms, potentially COVID-19 related, and Public Health has not contacted you directly about a known exposure.

Test results:
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, refer to the Positive COVID-19 Test section on this page. 
  • If you text negative for COVID-19, please refer to Negative COVID-19 Test section on this page.

What to do

If you didn't require testing, do the following:


  1. Self-monitor your symptoms in case they worse.(If they do, get tested).
  2. Call the PHSA COVID-19 Resource Line if you have questions. 
    • 1-833-875-2155 (toll free) or 604-875-7244 
  3. Speak with your manager about operational needs and, if possible, work remotely.
  4. If advised to not report to work, call PEARL at 1-855-667-3275 and select “PEARL Illness”. 

When to return to work

If you tested negative for COVID-19 or you did not require testing, you can return to work once you feel well enough. 

If you tested positive for COVID-19, please refer to the refer to the Positive COVID-19 Test section on this page. 

Code/leave type

You (self-serve employees), or your scheduler/timekeeper, may code your time as follows.


PHSA:

  • FT/PT Reg - Paid Sick Leave. If sick bank is empty, use other paid time or unpaid sick leave 
  • Casual status –Not eligible for sick pay for non-COVID-19 illness; adjusted out of shifts while not able to work due to illness
BCEHS:

  • FT/PT Reg - Paid Sick Leave. If sick bank is empty, use other paid time or General Unpaid COVID LOA
  • On-Call - General LOA (100% of average earnings over preceding three months of employment. Your manager needs to email HR@bcehs.ca with dates employee will be off)
Managers completing an e-form for employees accessing Unpaid COVID Leave should use code UOS.

Test results
  • If you test is positive for COVID-19, please refer to the Positive COVID-19 Test section on this page. 
  • If you text negative for COVID-19, please refer to Negative COVID-19 Test section on this page. 
 
The following guidelines and actions apply if you have an illness unrelated to COVID-19 or received a negative COVID-19 test.

Do not report to work and recuperate at home until well enough to return. Ensure you check in with your manager/leader/supervisor.

Follow regular process for calling in sick using normal book-off procedures, for example via PEARL, contacting your supervisor etc.

When to return to work

At the discretion of the employer, you may return to work once well enough to work. Follow the required masking guidelines for your workplace.

Code/leave type

You (self-serve employee), or your scheduler/timekeeper, should code your time as follows.

PHSA:

  • FT/PT Reg – Paid sick leave. If sick banks are empty, use other paid time or unpaid general leave 
  • Casual status –Not eligible for sick pay; adjusted out of shifts while not able to work due to illness
BCEHS:

  • FT/PT Reg – Paid sick leave. If sick banks are empty, use other paid time or General Unpaid COVID LOA
  • On-Call/Casual – General Unpaid LOA (not eligible for regular sick pay)
 

Please consult the BCCDC website for information on returning from international travel.

Visit the Government of Canada website for further details and the most up to date information.

What to do

Contact your manager prior to travelling to confirm if you are to self-isolate, work from home or return to the workplace. 
 
  • If you are unable to attend work due to the mandatory, post-international travel self-isolation period, you require a pre-approved leave.
  • If you are going to miss a scheduled shift, call PEARL at 1-855-667-3275.

Code/leave type

Employee may use vacation, overtime banks, CTO or an Unpaid COVID-19 leave during the mandatory self-isolation period. 

Employees who do not have access to sick balances or have exhausted their sick balance should connect directly with their leader and/or human resources business partner to discuss options.

All employees may access unpaid COVID-19 leave (new leave under the Employment Standards Act) if applicable. For more information, see the Leaves & Timekeeping page. 

If you are required to self-isolate but you have not tested positive for COVID-19 upon your arrival back to Canada, you (self-serve employees), or your scheduler/timekeeper, should code your pre-authorized time as follows.

PHSA:
  • FT/PT Reg – Vacation, Banked Overtime, Unpaid general leave; reason code = COVID-19
  • Casual status –  Do not accept shifts for the isolation period but casual employees who are pre-scheduled are adjusted out of shifts for the period of the isolation
BCEHS:
  • FT/PT Reg – Vacation, Overtime, Unpaid General Leave (Unpaid COVID-19 leave)
  • On-Call/Casual – General Unpaid LOA
Managers completing an e-form for employees accessing Unpaid COVID Leave should use code UOG.

The following guidelines and actions apply for employees who are asymptomatic but unable to attend work due to caring for a sick child or dependent adult who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for COVID-19.
 

What to do

If your child or dependent adult has not been tested for COVID-19, review the BCCDC’s Testing Information.
  
Consider all possible child care options, similar to if your child was sent home with cold/flu symptoms. Review how to care for someone with COVID-19 at home.

If you are unable to attend work, inform your manager and keep them updated regarding your return-to-work status.

For more information, employees may contact the PHSA COVID-19 Resource Line

When to return to work

We appreciate the challenges that may come along with caring for a child or a dependent adult with COVID-19. 

If you are fully vaccinated and exposed or close contact to someone with a positive test or suspected case of COVID-19, you are to self-monitor for symptoms for 10 days and you can maintain your usual activities, including going to work with the appropriate PPE. It’s recommended that you keep your circle small and wear a mask as much as possible. 

Employees who are unsure about returning to work can call the PHSA COVID-19 Resource Line.

Coding/leave type 

Collective agreement provisions apply. Please discuss your eligibility for Special Leave, Personal Leave and Unpaid COVID-19 leave with your leader and refer to the information below.

If an employee has been directed to self-isolate, General Paid Leave applies. Casual employees who are asymptomatic will be paid for pre-booked shifts during the isolation period. (CUPE casuals will receive 100% of average earnings over the preceding three months of employment.)

Employees covered by a collective agreement may be eligible for Special Leave of up to 2 days. After Special Leave is exhausted (if applicable) employees may use banked overtime and vacation banks.

Non-contract employees may use CTO, banked overtime and vacation banks. Non-contract employees may also be eligible for Personal Leave.  

All employees may access unpaid COVID-19 leave (new leave under the Employment Standards Act) if applicable.

If not required to self-isolate:

PHSA:
  • FT/PT Reg – Special Leave if applicable, Vacation, Banked Overtime, Unpaid General Leave; Reason Code = COVID-19
  • Casual status –adjusted out of shifts for the duration of the time needed to care for eligible dependents
BCEHS:  
  • FT/PT Reg – Special Leave if applicable, Vacation, Overtime, General Unpaid Leave (Unpaid COVID-19 leave) 
  • On-Call/Casual - General Unpaid Leave (Unpaid COVID-19 leave)
Managers completing an e-form for employees accessing Unpaid COVID Leave should use code UOG.  

Special leave collective agreement provisions  

  • HSPBA: Special Leave (up to 2 days) “to provide care to an immediate family member who has a serious illness”
    • Employees with a child/family member experiencing symptoms or who has tested positive for COVID-19 are eligible for up to 2 days of Special Leave. 
  • NBA: Special Leave (up to 2 days) “to provide care to an immediate family member who has a serious illness”
    • Employees with a child/family member experiencing symptoms or who has tested positive for COVID-19 are eligible for up to 2 days of Special Leave.
  • FBA: Special Leave (up to 2 days) may be used for a “serious household or domestic emergency including illness in the immediate family of an employee, and when no one at the employee’s home other than the employee can provide care for the ill immediate family member”
    • If there is no one else in the home able to care for the child/family member experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who has tested positive for COVID-19 other than the employee, Special Leave applies.
  • CBA: Special Leave (up to 2 days) may be used for a “serious household or domestic emergency including illness in the immediate family of an employee, and when no one at the employee’s home other than the employee can provide care for the ill immediate family member”
    • If there is no one else in the home able to care for the child/family member experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who has tested positive for COVID-19 other than the employee, Special Leave applies.
  • CUPE: Special Leave (up to 2 days) may be used “in the case of illness or hospitalization of a dependent child of an employee, and when no one at the employee’s home other than the employee can provide for the needs of the ill child, the employee shall be entitled, after notifying their supervisor, to use up to a maximum of two days’ paid leave at any one time for this purpose”. 
    • If there is no one else in the home able to care for the child experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who has tested positive for COVID-19 other than the employee, Special Leave applies.
The following guidelines and actions apply for employees who are asymptomatic but unable to attend work due to caring for an asymptomatic child who has been directed to self-isolate or go for testing.

What to do

Employees who are asymptomatic do not need to stay home from work if a family member or household contact begins experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and goes for testing.

Consider all possible child care options, similar to if your child was sent home with cold/flu symptoms. Review how to care for someone with COVID-19 at home

If your child has not already been tested for COVID-19, review the BCCDC’s Testing Information

If self-isolation is required

See the Self-Isolation guidelines and call PEARL at 1-855-667-3275:
  • If asymptomatic, select Option 2 (COVID-19) and then enter the number of days of self-isolation. 
  • If symptomatic, select option 3 (illness) and then enter the number of days of self-isolation
If possible, employees may discuss their eligibility to work from home with their leader. Refer to the Flexible Work Options page on POD.

Coding/leave type 

Collective agreement provisions apply. Please discuss your eligibility for Unpaid COVID-19 leave with your leader.

If employee has been directed to self-isolate, General Paid Leave applies. Casual employees who are asymptomatic will be paid for pre-booked shifts during the isolation period. (CUPE casuals will receive 100% of average earnings over the preceding three months of employment.)

Should a member of the employee’s household, but not the employee, be directed to self-isolate, the employee may use vacation, overtime banks, or an unpaid COVID-19 leave.

Non-contract employees may also use CTO if eligible.   

All employees may access unpaid COVID-19 leave (new leave under the Employment Standards Act) if applicable. 

PHSA:
  • FT/PT Reg – Vacation, Banked Overtime, Unpaid General Leave; reason code = COVID-19 
  • Casual status –adjusted out of shifts for the duration of the time needed to care for eligible dependents
BCEHS:  
  • FT/PT Reg – Vacation, Overtime, General Unpaid Leave (Unpaid COVID-19 leave)
  • On-Call/Casual - General Unpaid Leave (Unpaid COVID-19 leave)
Managers completing an e-form for employees accessing Unpaid COVID Leave should use code UOG.
The following guidelines and actions apply for employees who are asymptomatic but have a family member or household contact who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and goes for testing, or has tested positive for COVID-19.

What to do: 

Employees who are asymptomatic and fully vaccinated do not need to stay home from work if a family member or household contact goes for COVID-19 testing or tests positive for COVID-19. However, if you can work remotely, you should consider this option.

You are to self-monitor for symptoms for 10 days and you can maintain your usual activities. It’s recommended that you keep your circle small and wear a mask as much as possible. If you develop symptoms, you should not go to work and should get tested. 

For more information, employees may call the PHSA COVID-19 Resource Line

Employees caring for a family member with COVID-19 should review the how to care for someone with COVID-19 at home webpage.

When to return to work 

If possible, employees may discuss their eligibility to work from home during self-isolation with their leader. Refer to the Flexible Work Options page on POD.

Coding/leave 

Collective agreement provisions apply. Please discuss your eligibility for Special Leave, Personal Leave (non-contract employees) and/or Unpaid general leave (Reason Code = COVID-19) with your leader and refer to the information below.

If the employee is asymptomatic but has been directed to self-isolate, Paid General Leave applies; Reason Code = COVID - Isolation. Casual employees will receive paid general leave for pre-scheduled shifts that need to be cancelled as a result of the requirement to isolate. (CUPE casuals will receive 100% of average earnings over the preceding three months of employment.)

Non-contract employees who have not been directed to isolate may request to use CTO, banked overtime and vacation banks. Non-contract employees may also be eligible for Personal Leave.  

Code/leave type 

If you are asymptomatic but have not been directed to self-isolate, you may request the following leave and if approved you (self-serve employees), or your scheduler/timekeeper, would code your time as follows.

PHSA:
  • FT/PT Reg – Special Leave if applicable, Vacation, Banked Overtime, Unpaid General Leave
  • Casual status –adjusted out of pre-scheduled shifts
BCEHS:  
  • FT/PT Reg – Vacation, Overtime, General Unpaid Leave (Unpaid COVID-19 leave) 
  • On-Call/Casual - General Unpaid Leave (Unpaid COVID-19 leave)
Managers completing an e-form for employees accessing Unpaid COVID Leave should use code UOG.  

Collective Agreement provisions 

  • HSPBA: Special Leave (up to 2 days) “to provide care to an immediate family member who has a serious illness”
    • Employees with a child/family member experiencing symptoms or who has tested positive for COVID-19 are eligible for up to 2 days of Special Leave.
  • NBA: Special Leave (up to 2 days) “to provide care to an immediate family member who has a serious illness”
    • Employees with a child/family member experiencing symptoms or who has tested positive for COVID-19 are eligible for up to 2 days of Special Leave.
  • FBA: Special Leave (up to 2 days) may be used for a “serious household or domestic emergency including illness in the immediate family of an employee, and when no one at the employee’s home other than the employee can provide care for the ill immediate family member”
    • If there is no one else in the home able to care for the child/family member experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who has tested positive for COVID-19 other than the employee, Special Leave applies.
  • CBA: Special Leave (up to 2 days) may be used for a “serious household or domestic emergency including illness in the immediate family of an employee, and when no one at the employee’s home other than the employee can provide care for the ill immediate family member”
    • If there is no one else in the home able to care for the child/family member experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who has tested positive for COVID-19 other than the employee, Special Leave applies.
SOURCE: Exposure & Illness ( )
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