Infectious Disease Policy
Adapted from HR Policy Handbook, Infectious Disease Policy.
This policy outlines specific steps that EMPLOYER takes to safeguard employees’ health and well-being during widespread outbreaks of infectious bacterial or viral diseases, while ensuring EMPLOYER’s ability to maintain essential operations and provide necessary services to customers.
Infectious Disease Defined
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control, emerging infectious diseases are new infections resulting from changes or evolution of existing organisms, known infections spreading to new geographic areas or populations, previously unrecognized infections appearing in areas undergoing ecologic transformation, old infections that are reemerging as a result of antimicrobial resistance in known agents, or breakdowns in public health measures. These include influenza, staph infections, and the Ebola and Zika viruses.
Remote Work Locations
EMPLOYER acknowledges that employees’ access to and use of public services or transportation might be prohibited or curtailed by local, state, or federal authorities during an infectious disease outbreak. Employees also might be unable to access or leave buildings, and disruptions can occur in the delivery of goods or services. EMPLOYER is prepared to continue key “bare bones” operations from a number of remote work locations, including essential employees’ home offices. [Employers can add: EMPLOYER has installed all of the equipment needed for telework operations at these remote work locations.]
Infectious Control Measures
EMPLOYER takes a number of steps to minimize, to the extent practicable, exposure to infectious diseases at the workplace. As appropriate, EMPLOYER recommends measures that employees can take to protect themselves outside the workplace and encourages employees to discuss their specific needs with a physician or other appropriate health or wellness professional.
EMPLOYER expects employees who contract an infectious disease or are exposed to infected family members or other persons to stay home and seek medical attention if needed. EMPLOYER also expects these employees to notify EMPLOYER as soon as possible of their exposure or illness.
EMPLOYER approves the installation or use, wherever possible, of improved equipment or cleaning methods to guard against the spread of infection at the workplace.
EMPLOYER-provided training addresses issues such as the availability of vaccines; symptoms, treatment, and appropriate medical care; steps to take if exposure is suspected; proper use of EMPLOYER-provided personal protection equipment; and proper hygiene in the workplace and at home.
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Employee Leave and Pay
EMPLOYER grants leave to employees who are absent because of an infectious disease that affects them or their family members.
EMPLOYER allows employees to use their accrued annual or sick leave if they become ill or need to take leave to care for a family member.
Employees also can use unpaid family and medical leave for their illness or a family member’s illness. These employees must notify EMPLOYER as soon as possible of their need for family and medical leave. EMPLOYER requires employees to take unpaid family and medical leave if they lack accrued annual or sick leave.
EMPLOYER makes all reasonable efforts to reduce the need for travel by, for example, using technology that allows employees to communicate or otherwise work electronically.
In the event of an infectious disease outbreak, travel on EMPLOYER’s behalf generally is limited to a select group of essential employees who have the required travel authorization from EMPLOYER, and if necessary, outside authorities.
[Explore the Coronavirus resources page to find out how attorneys and businesses are responding to this medical emergency.]