By Sarah Crawford
Working IDEAL has compiled a resource guide for employers and employees regarding implications of the coronavirus for the workplace. This guide provides links to resources offered by federal agencies (included resources in Spanish), state and local governments, and public interest organizations that explain legal obligations and best practices for employers and legal rights and benefits for workers.
Recent legislation provides relief for employers and employees. The CARES Act provides enhanced unemployment benefits for workers and forgivable loans to small business owners to continue to pay employees and cover certain costs under the Paycheck Protection Program. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act expands workers’ rights to paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave.
The Center for Disease Control released guidance for employers to prevent the spread of the virus. The guidance encourages employers to actively encourage sick employees to stay home, identify where and how workers might be exposed to COVID-19 at work, separate sick employees, educate employees about how they can reduce the spread of COVID-19, identify a workplace coordinator, implement flexible sick leave policies and practices, assess essential functions, determine how to operate if absenteeism spikes, consider establishing policies and practices for social distancing, etc.
The Department of Labor has released guidance relating to workplace safety, expanded sick leave and family and medical leave rights, unemployment benefits, etc.
The EEOC has provided updated technical assistance, including a pre-recorded webinar, that addresses the Americans with Disabilities Act and what information employers may request from employees who call in sick, when employers may take employees’ temperature, whether employers may require employees to stay home if they have symptoms, and whether employers may require doctors’ notes certifying fitness for duty upon employees’ return to work.
In addition to reviewing these federal resources, employers and employers should review applicable state and local legislation and programs regarding unemployment benefits, paid sick leave, workers’ compensation, teleworking, identifying “essential” workers, etc.