This week, we have new guidance from OSHA and the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.
Let’s see what we have for you today:
- Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, which contains information on safe work practices and appropriate personal protective equipment based on the risk level of exposure.
- A new OSHA COVID-19 webpage that provides infection prevention information specifically for workers and employers.
- Fair Labor Standards Act Questions and Answers: COVID-19 edition
- COVID-19 Q&A for the Family and Medical Leave Act
And here is a link to the latest Coronavirus information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including what you need to know about Keeping Workplaces, Homes, Schools, or Commercial Establishments Safe.
In addition to taking necessary steps to prevent the onset and spread from COVID-19, on a macro level, employers should be considering other risk-prevention steps like:
- developing policies and procedures to quickly identify and isolate sick individuals,
- having systems in place for employees to report when they are ill or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, and
- promoting workplace flexibility to allow individuals to work remotely, where possible.
On a more micro level, OSHA suggests not requiring a doctor’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their
illness or to return to work. Healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way. OSHA also recommends ensuring that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies. Plus, talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
As I mentioned in last week’s post, I helped develop a plain-English client-alert to answer more questions that businesses may have. And when I’m not blogging, I’m spending time advising clients on all things Coronavirus.
I’m happy to chat with you too. Above all, now is not the time to be penny wise and pound foolish. If you need help, please contact a lawyer.