Every week we get asked different questions regarding COVID-19 and how your business should respond. Here are a few of our most frequently asked questions:
CAN I ASK MY EMPLOYEES TO STAY HOME OR LEAVE IF THEY HAVE SYMPTOMS?
Absolutely. This is not a new rule with COVID. If you have an employee that shows up at work sick, it’s always been acceptable to send them home. Now with COVID, not only are you allowed to ask them to go home, but you can also ask employees to keep you posted about changes in their condition or update you if they receive test results.
IF EMPLOYEES TEST POSITIVE, WHAT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY?
There are no reporting requirements on a COVID case unless it is directly connected to the work. The main steps to take to ensure that all of your employees are following the CDC guidelines.
You can ask what the results of an employee’s COVID test were. For example, if one of your employees was exposed by a spouse or a roommate, you can ask for your employee to get a negative test result before returning to work.
WHAT IF MY EMPLOYEE REFUSES TO COME BACK TO WORK IN THE OFFICE AFTER WORKING REMOTELY?
This is a question that our team gets almost every day. The first thing you want to do is understand their motivations behind wanting to work from home. Most likely, this desire is based on fear. Maybe your employee has a compromised immune system? Or maybe they live with a compromised family member? Whatever it is, make sure that you have a clear understanding of why they don’t want to return to the office and take steps and precautions to protect your employees in this situation.
Remember that listening to your employees is key. Ask your employees good questions about what it would take for them to return to the office, listen to their feedback, and take actionable steps based on it.
We also understand that for most employers, remote work isn’t an option. For some industries, like finance and banking, privacy and data are major concerns with working remotely. While other industries, like construction and agriculture, have to be in-person to complete the necessary requirements of the job description.
WHAT IS CONSIDERED COVID EXPOSURE?
There’s a difference between living with someone with COVID and sitting in a meeting with somebody for five minutes with COVID. The CDC states that exposure is if you’re within six feet of someone for 15 minutes or longer consecutively. Then you go to the next step and consider different factors – were they vaccinated or unvaccinated? Were you sitting outside or inside?
With COVID, HR guidance can be situational, and there are no cookie-cutter answers. Each situation may be handled differently, but that’s what we are here for! We would love to help you navigate the muddy waters of human resources and COVID-19. Give us a call today – (888) 682-3594.
For a more in-depth breakdown of our HR recommendations on vaccines and masks, click here.