COVID-19 Employer Resources
As COVID-19 continues to impact small businesses like yours, we have created this page with the hope of keeping you informed about recent changes and updates to legislation as well as provide valuable resources to help you navigate your next steps. Please continue to check back as we continue to add more resources!
Frequently asked questions
Health and Safety
What should I do if an employee tests positive for COVID-19?
If an employee has tested positive or is presumptive positive, for COVID-19, employers are obligated to notify other employees of possible exposure. However, employers are required to maintain confidentiality under the ADA - the employee's name/identity cannot be revealed.
Once warned of possible exposure, fellow employees should be encouraged to self-monitor for symptoms and notify a supervisor immediately if they feel unwell.
In its communication to employees, regarding potential exposure, employers should list actions taken and outline next steps (deep cleaning, closing office, other precautions).
What health-related questions can I ask my employees?
Employers may ask questions specific to COVID-19 symptoms only. You may:
-Ask if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. This includes fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste, or sore throat.
-Ask if they or a close family member has recently tested positive for COVID19.
-Ask if they have come in contact with anyone that is known or suspected to have COVID19.
-You MAY NOT ask non-COVID19-related medical questions. Asking unrelated medical questions may impact an employee’s rights under the ADA.
Can I send an employee home if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19?
Yes. The CDC has advised that employees who appear to have symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, body aches, etc should be sent home immediately and encouraged to speak with their doctor before returning to the office.
Can we screen employees for COVID-19 before coming into work each day?
Yes. the EEOC has stated that screening employees for symptoms of COVID-19 is allowed under ADA because it is considered a hazard in the workplace.
Managing Remote Teams
Leave and FFCRA
Return to Work
Can I require employees to take an antibody test prior to returning to the office?
No. The EEOC recently issued guidance that mandatory antibody testing before allowing employees to return to the worksite is prohibited under the ADA... "Even during the pandemic, antibody testing would be considered a medical examination and isn't job-related and consistent with business necessity..."
What can an employer do if an employee refuses to return to work?
Employers should tread lightly here. We have to review the employee's health concerns and legal rights under certain employment laws such as OSHA, ADA and NLRA. Here's a great article from the Society for HR Management (SHRM) discussing this: What to do When Scared Workers Don't Report to Work Due to COVID-19.
Are we required to allow an employee to continue working from home after we have reopened our office?
Employers are not obligated to make remote working a permanent option for employees. Once the office opens back up, employers can require employees to return to the office. However, it is best to have a discussion with any employee refusing to return to the office or requesting that they be allowed to continue working remotely. Working remotely can be considered a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
DOL FFCRA FAQs - US Department of Labor guidance for employers on their responsibilities and rights under the FFCRA
The Small Business Owner's Guide to the CARES Act - provides information about the major programs and initiatives that are available from the Small Business Administration (SBA) as well as some additional tax provisions outside the scope of the SBA.