The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically impacted our communities and businesses. As we reopen our companies, it is crucial to know and understand the new rules and regulations affecting your organization as a result of COVID-19. Below we have summarized a few, with links to more specific detail.
After confirmation of a positive case in the workplace, you need to take “reasonable efforts” in determining whether their employee’s positive COVID-19 case is truly work-related. The investigation should be concise and based on reasonably available information.
**Due to the recent update from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on 5/26/2020, which states that the previous record keeping requirements for COVID-19 cases memorandum was rescinded. The most updated guidance for the Human Resources, Safety and Health Officers of your organization, relates to the enforcement of the revised OSHA regulation 29 CFR part 1904. https://www.osha.gov/memos/2020-05-19/revised-enforcement-guidance-recording-cases-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19
Under OSHA’s record keeping requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness. Thus, employers are responsible for recording reported cases if:
- The case is a confirmed case of COVID-19, as defined by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- The case is work-related as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5;(3) and
- The case involves one or more of the general recording criteria set forth in 29 CFR 1904.7.(4)
If you find that you have a recordable COVID-19 illness, it doesn’t mean that you are in jeopardy with OSHA. However, it would be best if you were prepared to respond.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specific reasons related to COVID-19.
Who qualifies for sick time if unable to work or “telework”?
- Someone subject to Federal, State or local quarantine/isolation orders related to COVID-19
- Someone that has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine
- Someone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis?
- Someone caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantined as described in (2)
- Someone who is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19
- Someone experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury
The FFCRA requires employers to provide specific employees with the following:
- Two Weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay
- Two Weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular pay because they are unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine
- Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay (who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days)
Employer Points of Interest
- If an employee becomes ill with COVID-19 symptoms and does not seek medical diagnosis or advise of a health care provider, paid time off under FFCRA is not usually applicable
- If an employee tests positive for the virus associated with COVID-19 or are advised by health care providers to self-quarantine, paid sick leave applies
- FFCRA paid sick leave does not apply when employees decide to self-quarantine for an illness without seeking medical advice
- Medical sick leave is not permitted under FFCRA if employees become ill with illnesses unrelated to COVID-19
Ultimately, any employee who has been confirmed positive for COVID-19, may be requested to provide documentation from their healthcare provider that they have tested negative.
If you are an employer that is in need of more information or has additional questions regarding COVID-19 and their employees, please contact us. Tracy [at] wichert [dot] comTracy [at] wichert [dot] com