“Uncertain” has become an appropriate descriptor for the COVID-19 world pandemic. This uncertainty applies to business owners and managers as they navigate uncharted territory when it comes to human resources procedures. Gotcha Covered HR, a New Orleans-based, women-owned business that provides HR and employment law expertise to local companies, shares some answers to frequently asked questions in the wake of a world pandemic.
My business provides an essential service, so we are remaining open. I have an employee who I suspect may have COVID-19. What should I do?
Employers are walking a fine line right now between respecting employees’ medical privacy and maintaining the overall health of the workplace. HIPAA
(the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) generally dictates that employers keep medical information confidential. However, medical information may be disclosed to authorized personnel on a need to know basis if there is a serious or imminent threat to the health and safety of a person or the public. Never has that threat been more real than in the face of COVID-19…
My company has a paid sick time policy that pays people for up to five days. Can I extend that paid time if someone has COVID-19?
What we want to stress here, and in any area of HR policy, is the importance of consistency. We not only recommend but commend a paid sick policy that’s adapted to those who’ve been impacted by COVID-19. It ensures that sick employees don’t feel compelled to show up to work just to be paid.
However, offering extended paid sick time to “Employee A” but not “Employee B” is risky. Anytime a policy is not consistently applied, there should be a justifiable reason for doing so. As much as possible, outline these exceptions or special circumstances in your HR policies, making it clear why a person in Employee A’s situation would get the leave time, but Employee B doesn’t.
Read on to learn how Gotcha Covered HR Answers Your COVID-19 Business Questions.