An ESC Special Alert: Employer Recommended Protocols for COVID-19
As you know, the World Health Organization, classified the virus as a pandemic due to the number of cases worldwide. In order for anything to change locally, the CDC or a state or local government entity would also need to make a similar designation for additional local changes that would impact our community. Until this occurs, it remains an individual business decision regarding moving to a work-from-home philosophy or having a brief period of shut down.
ESC has the following recommendations for employers, which are from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
- Encourage sick employees to stay home and review, update, and communicate your sick leave policies if necessary.
- Understand more employees may need to stay home to care for sick family members.
- Employees who have symptoms of cough and shortness of breath and/or reported fever should be sent home. Employees should return once they are free of fever 100.4° F [37.8° C] using an oral thermometer. In order to return to work, they must be fever-free for a minimum of 24 hours.
- Consider flexible worksites, such as telecommuting.
- Encourage good hygiene practices- sample signage is attached.
- Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, countertops, microwaves, and keyboards.
- Employees traveling should check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for updated recommendations. It is important to not make determinations of risk based on a race or country of origin.
- If any employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform other employees of possible exposure. Employers must maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Employees may use PTO or take time unpaid if an employee must be quarantined for two weeks.
- Recommend having a communication/work strategy in place in the event your office must shut down
Below is sample language and posters that you can use to communicate with your employees.
Governor Cuomo announced he would amend his budget proposal on paid sick leave to protect employees’ jobs if they are quarantined due to coronavirus. More details will follow regarding the paid sick time proposal as they become available to us, but at this time it has not yet been passed.
Communications to Help Prevent Illness in the Workplace