1. Am I required to pay people who are out on quarantine by me or local/state health departments?
Yes. When you send someone home because they have symptoms of COVID-19 or to get tested you must pay them under the Family First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA).
Employers that do not currently offer sick leave to some or all of their employees may want to draft non-punitive “emergency sick leave” policies. Ensure that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of and understand these policies.
For a written overview of the FFCRA, click here
ABC Empire State Chapter conducted a webinar on FFCRA, click here to watch it
2. An employee called to say they were or may have been exposed to COVID-19. What do I do?
Employees who may have been exposed to the virus should stay home and monitor their symptoms. If after 72 hours, they remain symptom free, you can consider bringing them back to work. However, we recommend before bringing them back you require them to get tested.
For the rest of your employees, before you send them home or you ask them to get tested:
- Have they been wearing a mask?
- Are they working more than 6 feet apart?
- Have they filled out their daily COVID-19 questionnaire?
If the answer to the above are yes, they can continue to work but you should monitor them for any symptoms.
Refer to question 1 about paying the employee
*The CDC has now defined prolonged exposure as being mask-less and closer than 6 feet for more than 15 minutes. If anyone matches that criteria we encourage you to pull them from the workforce and get them tested.
3. What should I do if an employee comes to work with COVID-19 symptoms?
Employees who have symptoms when they arrive at work or become sick during the day should be immediately sent home. They should not return to work until they no longer feel symptoms of COVID-19 after isolation and have consulted with a healthcare provider. You may require them to get a test before they can return to work.
After 24 hours without a fever, the employee can return to work as long as they continue to monitor their symptoms.
Do I have to pay them? Yes. See answer 1
4. What happens if one of my employees tests positive for COVID-19?
In most cases, you do not need to shut down your office or jobsite. If it has been less than 7 days since the sick employee has been in the office or on the site, close off any areas used for prolonged periods of time by the sick person:
- Wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting to minimize potential for other employees being exposed to respiratory droplets. If waiting 24 hours is not feasible, wait if possible.
- During this waiting period, open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in these areas.
Inform employees of their possible exposure but maintain confidentiality as it relates to state law.
5. How do I bring back an employee that tested positive?
Persons with COVID-19 who have symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under ALL the following conditions:
- At least 10 days* have passed since symptom onset
- At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications
- Other symptoms have improved