Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published guidelines to help employers navigate the many different return-to-work scenarios presented by COVID-19, it is difficult to understand your obligations and recommended best practices in light of the many scenarios you encounter at your workplace. When can employees safely return to work after a COVID-19 diagnosis? What if they show some symptoms but haven’t been tested? What if they have been exposed to an infected person but show no symptoms? These and many other similar questions are arising daily in workplaces across the country, and there doesn’t seem to be a single place where you can find a roadmap to help you find your way – until now.
The attorneys on the Fisher Phillips COVID-19 Taskforce have developed a tool to help employers respond correctly when faced with common scenarios. The Minimum Return-To-Work Standards In Common Scenarios, available at no cost on the firm’s COVID-19 Resource Center for Employers, is your one-stop shop to help you navigate your way through these sometimes confusing situations.
To use the chart, you first identify if an employee has been exposed to COVID-19, is exhibiting virus symptoms, and/or has received a test result. Once you answer those questions, you can identify what the appropriate steps are with regard to whether the employee must quarantine (and, if so, the length of such quarantine), when they can return to work, what information can you require from them before they return to work, whether they have rights to protected leave, and what steps you should take with your other employees. The chart also differentiates between critical infrastructure employees and those who are not when that dichotomy requires separate guidance.
It is important to remember that the Minimum Return-To-Work Standards In Common Scenarios chart is based on the CDC’s minimum guidelines. You may wish to take additional measures. However, if you do depart from the CDC guidance, we recommend discussing any such departures with your workplace counsel.