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  • COVID-19 Employer Guidelines


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    March 11, 2020
    Employer Guidelines for dealing with COVID-19
    The current outbreak of COVID-19, more commonly called Coronavirus, has caused alarm around the world. This is of concern to employers because it directly affects employees, customers, workplaces, and the overall health of businesses. Regardless of your personal opinion of the validity of the threat, its effects are real and growing. The purpose of this document is to provide some guidance to help employers handle the situation in a reasonable and compassionate way.
    Steps to take:
    • Encourage sick employees to stay home.
      • Employees should stay home until they are fever-free for at least 24 hours without fever-reducing medications.
      • Consider the reality that many employees will suffer financial hardship if they are unable to work and do not have available sick or PTO leave. Be flexible with sick policies, and make sure they are communicated to employees. If you require employees to stay home, consider paying them for their time if it is feasible for you.
      • If you have hired contract employees through an agency, communicate your preferences regarding sick employees to them.
      • Waive the requirement for a health provider’s note, as many facilities are very busy and may not be able to see patients in a timely manner.
      • Be aware that employees may need to stay home to care for a sick child or other family member and be flexible with sick policies.
      • Employees or their family members who are exposed to someone who has been infected or possibly infected with COVID-19 should contact their health providers immediately.
    • If an employee arrives to work sick or becomes ill after arriving, make sure that employee is separated from others as soon as possible and sent home.
    • Be sensitive to the fact that schools or child care facilities may close, leaving employees with a lack of child care. Be flexible with leave policies and scheduling to allow employees an opportunity to find alternate care. Consider work-from-home, flexible scheduling, or reduced hours as potential solutions.
    • If public health officials call for social distancing in your local area, have a plan to minimize exposure between customers and employees.
    • Refer to the CDC’s recommendations regularly, as they are constantly updated. (See CDC Coronavirus updates below)
    • Emphasize proper procedures when coughing or sneezing (using a tissue or coughing into sleeve or elbow).
    • Provide tissues, no-touch waste receptacles, and adequate supplies of soap and alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Place waste receptacles near the restroom doors so employees may exit without touching door handles.
    • Communicate regularly with employees about the steps you are taking to protect them and your customers.
    • Be more conscientious about routine cleaning procedures.
      • Provide bleach wipes for employees to clean surfaces, keyboards, doorknobs, etc. in their private offices or workspaces.
      •  Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces in common areas such as doorknobs, counter tops, computer keyboards, telephones, etc.
      • The CDC does not recommend additional cleaning at this time. Use normal cleaning agents according to the directions.
    • If an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19, the employer should notify other employees of their possible exposure, but should maintain confidentiality in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Refer to CDC guidance on assessing the risk in the workplace.
    • If your business is required to record injuries and illnesses on the annual OSHA 300 form and an employee is infected by COVID-19 at work, this is a recordable incident.
    • Be aware that your business may be impacted by absences and be prepared to fulfill the essential functions of your business by cross-training other personnel.
    • Have a plan for changing or suspending business operations in response to the rapidly changing conditions in your local area.
    • Coordinate with state and local health officials so that you have the most current information in your area.
    • Employees who travel should take the following steps:
      • Check to see if there are outbreaks in the area where they will be traveling, especially if traveling outside the US. (See CDC Travel information below)
      • Know the symptoms of COVID-19 and seek medical attention if they become ill while traveling or after returning. (See Symptoms below)
    CDC Coronavirus updates: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
    CDC Travel information: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel
    COVID-19 Symptoms: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html
    Why partner with The HR Connection?
    • Master of Business Administration, Indiana Wesleyan University
    • Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) from January 2006 to December 2009
    • Board Member, New Castle Henry County Area Chamber of Commerce
    • Excellent overall business acumen
    • Twenty + years of supervision, office management, and human resource experience
    • Knowledgeable and current in state and federal employment law
    • Experienced classroom trainer and one-on-one coach
    • Ability to apply human resource metrics to your business to measure human capital value and ROI
    • Provider for Total Administrative Services Corporation (TASC), offering Section 125 flexible spending accounts and COBRA Administration
    Consultants of The HR Connection make recommendations based upon education, practical work experience, and professional credentials.  The HR Connection consultants do not practice law, and it is recommended that all handbooks, manuals, and other documents will be reviewed independently by the client’s attorney.