Guidelines in COVID-19 Testing by Employers of Returning Employees

Under the “New Normal” for Businesses, employers are not required to test their employees returning to work. Should employers decide to conduct testing however, the costs thereof shall be for its account. Employers may also consider the following:

  1. The test may be conducted in a representative sample of employees who have returned to work physically and are at high risk of contracting COVID-19 owing to the nature of their work.
  2. Using RT-PCR tests among representative samples may be conducted to look for possible asymptomatic transmitters. Depending on the results, employers should take the following actions:
    1. If tested positive, the employee will be isolated and referred for appropriate management. All close contacts must be isolated and tested accordingly.
    2. If tested negative, the employee can continue working but must still follow the usual precautions. See: DTI and DOLE’s Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19.
    3. If initially found negative but later developed symptoms, the employee must be tested again and if found positive, all close contacts must be isolated and tested.
  3. Testing using FDA-approved rapid antibody-based tests among representative samples may also be conducted up to every 14 days as an alternative. Depending on the results, the following actions should be taken:


(Immunoglobulin M)


(Immunoglobulin G)




Employee may continue working following usual precautions as these results mean that the employee is not actively infected.







The employee must be isolated for 14 days, with another test conducted on the 14th day of quarantine.

  • If the results remain the same, the quarantine must be extended by increments of seven days and testing should be repeated.
  • If the same results persist after two consecutive re-testing following the initial 14-day period, the employer should consider potential false positives and confer with infectious disease specialists.

Immunoglobulin M is the first antibody that the body makes when it fights a new infection and is found mainly in the blood and lymph fluid.

On the other hand, Immunoglobulin G is the most common antibody and is found in blood and other body fluids. It protects against bacterial and viral infection and can take time to form after an infection or immunization. See: Blood Tests: Immunoglobulins (IgA, IgG, IgM)

For employers utilizing the RT-PCR test, information on suspect, probable, and confirmed COVID-19 cases should be recorded and reported within 24 hours to the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit using the COVID-19 Case Investigation Form or CIF found in DOH Administrative Order No. 2020-0013.

Employers who use the rapid antibody-based tests on their employees must submit the results to hrtucovid19results@gmail.comusing the format available in

Click to read the following issuances:

Click to read the following related articles:

Disclaimer: The information in this website is provided for general informational purposes only. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from Platon Martinez or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances.