Coronavirus and Your Workplace

Addressing Sick Leave, FMLA, Pay, Privacy, and Actions You Need to Take

By Terri L. Dougherty, PHR, SHRM-CP, J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) presents new challenges in the workplace as employers strive to keep businesses running, comply with regulations, and support the health and well-being of their workforce. A business’s response to this crisis needs to minimize the spread of the disease in the workplace while reducing the risk of noncompliance with Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) regulations and employment laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

To address these issues, you need to be ready to respond. This requires a multi-faceted plan that takes into account everything from FMLA and confidentiality rights to OSHA recordkeeping requirements. At the same time, you need to stay on top of issues such as social distancing and absenteeism, as well as production concerns. Your response must be flexible enough to adapt to an ever-changing situation in a way that supports your entire organization.

Responding to the Outbreak
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that employers:

  • Encourage sick employees to stay home and allow employees to stay home to care for a family member
  • Clean the work environment (including microwave handles, desks and workstations, countertops, doorknobs, computer keyboards, computer mice, faucet handles, phones, and remote controls)
  • Emphasize preventive actions, such as washing hands with soap and water, and avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Separate sick employees through prompt identification and isolation of potentially infectious individuals to protect workers, visitors, and others at the worksite
  • Communicate with your workforce important factors, such as your planned response to the outbreak, updates on the impact the outbreak is making on your community and workplace, and policies (i.e., leave, travel, options for remote work, pay and benefit considerations, etc.) Email, webpages, and posters are common forms of communication.
  • Give good consideration of employee rights such as compensation, the Family and Medical Leave Act, etc.
  • Ensure OSHA compliance, which depends largely on the anticipated exposures of the employer
  • Support business operations through ways you’re addressing social distancing, absenteeism, and supply chain and production disruptions
  • Closely assess your risk and have a plan on when to implement your policies

Click here to download a full Whitepaper published by J.J. Keller (“Coronavirus and Your Workplace”).

Free Whitepaper: CORONAVIRUS and Your Workplace  

Share this post:

Comments on "Coronavirus and Your Workplace"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment