CORONA VIRUS (COVID-19) is the deadliest virus, this century has seen. There is no vaccination and medicines for treatment. Reason being, the DNA of this virus changes its pattern every second. Without understanding the DNA structure, medicines cannot be prepared.
Prevention is better than cure. That is the only way to keep us safe.
EFFECTIVE DISINFESTATIONS CAN ARREST THE SPREAD OF THIS VIRUS.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• CDC does not recommend that people who are well should wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
• Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
• HR’s job is usually to keep employees from missing too much work (limited PTO, attendance programs).
Covid-19 requires different thinking:
• How do we keep sick employees at home?
• How do we avoid using up their sick/PTO time?
• How can we get those who are able to work at our site or remotely?
• Monitor and follow current CDC guidance on when an individual who has had Covid-19 can return to a general business setting.
• An employer may require a return to work note from a physician, consistent with its policies, including FMLA policy.
• Are they paid? (They need not be, for non-exempt employees.)
• Must employees exhaust paid leave? (Employers can require this).
• Does the absence count as an “occurrence”? (If it is not FMLA leave, it can).
Should absence for Covid-19 form the basis for discipline? Beware of conflicting policy approaches:
• “We want you to stay at home if you’re sick.”
• “But we’ll discipline if you do.”
• Covid-19 is likely a serious health condition under the FMLA.
• An absence of more than three consecutive calendar days; and
• Two treatments by a health care providers, or
• One treatment plus continuing regimen of treatment.
• If an absence is FMLA-covered, it should not be counted under an “occurrence” attendance-control policy.
• Covid-19, as it is now, is likely not a disability.
• However, complications from Covid-19 could constitute a disability.
• We do not recommend a requirement to obtain a seasonal flu shot, or a Covid-19 vaccine, should it be generally available.
• However, inducements to obtain vaccinations may encourage employees to obtain one (e.g., on-site administration of shot; low or no cost to employee).
This is intended to address more serious situations (e.g., public health officials mandate quarantines of an entire city or parts of a city, or infections are so widespread that employees are afraid to come to work). As the CDC guidance indicates, the situation may change rapidly and there may not be much time to figure out these details in the event of a rapid spread of cases.
1. Determine which employees must work from home to facilitate business continuity (“core employees”).
2. This likely includes exempt, managerial employees, but it may encompass non-exempt, administrative employees who know how to get certain things done.
3. Make sure employees’ work-from-home capabilities are intact (internet connection, printer/scanner, laptop, etc.), and take steps now to ensure any necessary equipment is available to such employees.
4. Determine which employees would ideally augment the core employees.
5. This might include customer service, IT, and communications employees.
6. Make sure employees’ work-from-home capabilities are in place for the extent of the work they would need to do.
7. Plan now for the IT remote access (and security), conference call, and other technical capabilities needed for a dispersed workforce.
8. If your business involves the delivery of physical goods, re-stocking of supplies, or services performed at another business location, coordinate with those businesses to determine the best approach to business continuity in the event of more widespread infections.
9. Consider how your business would be impacted by an illness-based shutdown or slowdown at your suppliers.
10. You may want to stockpile certain components or other goods to be ready for such an event.
11. Determine how you will address pay for non-exempt employees who work remotely during a closure.
12. How will employees record their time when working remotely?
13. Practically, how can you enforce how much employees work?
14. Determine how you will address pay for all employees who do not work.
15. After exhaustion of any paid leave benefit, will non-exempt employees have any additional payments to help them in the event of a two-month closure?
16. Will exempt employees who perform no work be instructed not to perform work so they do not create arguable obligations of entitlement to pay for checking e-mails, making sporadic calls, etc.?
17. Are there any resources (e.g., paying for delivery of groceries) you want to make available to all employees during a business closure?