Thursday, 14 May 2020 16:08

HR Checklist When Employee Tests Positive For COVID-19

Written by Kelly Holden, Partner, DBL Law & Scott McGarvey, Owner/Operator, ArcPoint Labs

As our economy reopens and most of us return to our respective workplaces, human resources professionals will face many new challenges, including what to do when an employee tests positive for COVID-19. Below is a checklist of item to consider as you approach this situation:

  • Inform other employees that someone in the workplace has tested positive. Those who worked closely with the person must be notified. Do not disclose the employee’s name.  Keep in mind that the infected worker may choose to tell their coworkers and disclose his/her identity.

  • Sanitize and deep clean areas where the employee may have been. You can consider closing for a day or so to let any active virus die, but that may depend on your business needs.

  • Remind workers about proper and constant use of PPE, handwashing, sanitizing, etc.

  • Also remind workers that they need to monitor their temperature every day prior to work.

  • Those who are showing any signs of illness, should leave immediately or not report to work.

  • When employees are not at work, they should be isolating as much as possible. Every time they go out or interact with people, they risk becoming infected and/or spreading the virus.

  • For healthcare-related employers, if the employer believes that the person contracted the virus in the workplace, it must be recorded per OSHA guidelines.

  • Also, Kentucky has issued an Executive Order that if a healthcare worker or first responder contracts COVID-19 at work, they may be eligible for worker’s compensation. Or individuals who do not have paid sick time, can apply for unemployment for any weeks out of work.

  • For employers required to provide FMLA (those with 50 or more employees), this will count as an FMLA-covered absence. The proper paperwork (Notice of Rights/Responsibilities and Healthcare Certification Form) must be submitted within five business days. This applies to eligible employees, those who have worked more than 12 months in past 7 years and worked 1,250 hours in past 12 months.   Employers can and should run FMLA concurrent with sick/vacation or worker’s comp.

  • If you are subject to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, you will have to provide paid sick leave pursuant to the Act.

  • To further educate employees, the CDC has numerous posters for displaying or distributing in workplaces.

Kelly Holden is a partner with DBL Law, a full-service law firm with offices in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Louisville. She leads the firm’s Employment and Labor law practice, representing and training private and public employers in all facets of employment law.

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