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Health officials outline guides for businesses and employers during COVID-19 outbreak

Mar 11, 2020 10:59AM ● By Editor
From the Minnesota Department of Health - March 11, 2020

Sick Leave Policies
  • Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
  • Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
  • Do not require a health care provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as health care provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
  • Employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.
    • Aside from ensuring that sick employees are staying home, it's important for organizations to identify critical functions and develop plans for how to staff those functions even with elevated absences.
    • Some organizations may find it helpful to emphasize cross-training and develop backup plans for those "must-do" functions.
    • Working from home is an option for some people, and we encourage employers to find ways to expand its use as much as possible during an outbreak. 
Encourage Sick Employees to Stay Home

Staying home when sick is a fundamental "stop the spread" tip that can be particularly difficult to follow, either because people have no sick leave or they feel otherwise compelled to show up and tough it out. 

  • During an outbreak, we strongly encourage employers to reconsider having people come to work when sick and develop non-punitive leave policies.
  • Staying home when sick protects not only other individual employees but also the larger workforce of an organization. One sick employee staying home may be an inconvenience, but an entire team of sick employees can become a far greater problem for the entire organization or business.

Watch the MN Dept. of Health COVID-19 video here

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