The Coronavirus is now making its way around the United States. Some companies are taking safeguards such as limiting travel, cancelling conferences, making work-from-home arrangements, and keeping a heavily stocked supply of disinfectant wipes and antibacterial available to their workers.
With growing numbers of infected individuals in the United States, more workers could soon be asked to work from home, especially if they aren’t feeling well. Because U.S. workers are less likely to be covered by a paid sick leave policy than in some other countries, the “Center for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended employers establish ‘nonpunitive’ policies, encouraging employees who are sick or exhibiting symptoms to stay at home.” However, this is under no federal obligation to employers as they are not required to provide paid sick leave. “Federal law requires that hourly workers be paid only for the time they work. Salaried workers, managers and executives will usually, but not always, be paid during a business disruption. Employers who are not paying for quarantine periods often let workers use vacation, sick time, personal days and other available paid time off — if workers have it.” Arizona, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington along with many states and cities provide paid sick leave to many workers. However, the amount of paid sick leave varies and usually depends on the length of employment and size of the company.
Remote workers make up anywhere from about 5 percent, who are permanent work-from-home, to nearly two-thirds of the workforce, who occasionally work-from-home, depending on the reporting measurement. A world spread pandemic, like the coronavirus, can drastically increase this statistic, making it more of a socially acceptable ‘new norm’. Therefore, in preparation, it might be a good idea to start discussing with your workforce your basic work-from-home protocols and requirements now. These can include: how to videoconference, share files remotely, create a group discussion with teammates and what to do if their laptop fails or if they have technical issues (help line to call?).
Here are some strategies for Companies to begin using now:
· Encourage sick workers to stay home, especially those who have acute respiratory illness, fever of 100.4°F or greater, signs of fever, or any other like symptoms for at least 24 hours without fever-reducing medicines
· Emphasize respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all workers. Provide tissues, no-touch disposal receptacles, disinfectant wipes, a minimum of 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and encourage washing of hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
· Perform routine environmental cleaning at the worksite
· Create Infectious Disease Contingency and Outbreak Response Plans and share these with all workers at each location
· Monitor public health notices
Please note: The CDC has said that if an employee infection is confirmed, employers should tell their co-workers that they may have been exposed to the virus. However, they should not reveal that employees name as federal law requires them to maintain the confidentiality of the infected person.
We are aware that the Coronavirus might come up for each of our clients in individual ways. We care about all of our workers and strongly encourage workplace health and safety standards. If you’re concerned or wish to discuss ways to maintain a happy and healthy population of workers, please feel free to reach out to your TargetCW support team.
If you have any further questions regarding your onsite facilities, updating your emergency contact information, or general inquiries, please contact your reporting manager or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. For updates and advisories from the CDC and World Health Organization please check the following: