COVID-19 Crisis Management for Human Resources
As your business partner, those of us at Employer Support Services would like to provide some specific considerations for Human Resources that you may not hear on national news, but you should be aware of during this crisis. We’ve compiled these considerations below for you to implement in your company and to help support your COVID-19 crisis management plan.
COVID-19 is Recognized as a National Health Hazard
The International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern on January 30, 2020. Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have also recognized COVID-19 as a health hazard. These organizations have put out guidelines for controlling and preventing its spread in the workplace. In addition, the President of the United States declared COVID-19 a national emergency on March 13, 2020.
With undeniable proof that this is a severe and threatening virus, it is vital you communicate to your employees the basics of safety and protection from COVID-19 in the workplace. Follow these guidelines from OSHA, the CDC, and the U.S. president.
- The CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers
- OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
- OSHA’s COVID-19 Standards
- OSHA’s COVID-19 Control and Prevention
- The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America
FMLA Regulations on COVID-19
President Trump signed a coronavirus aid package into law on March 18, 2020. For more information on the law and its impact on employer responsibilities to employees during this time of crisis, read our detailed article “The New COVID Bill and Employer Implications.”
COVID-19 Qualifies for Worker’s Compensation
Keeping your workspace safe for employees has always been crucial, and COVID-19 is no exception. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, if an employee contracts COVID-19 while performing their job duties, they have full coverage of the Division of Federal Employees’ Compensation for medical treatment, lost wages, and disabilities related to the condition.
Employees must test positive for the virus by a qualified physician. If the test is positive, however, the incident would qualify as a worker’s compensation issue and should be filed accordingly.
COVID-19 Patients Protected by HIPPA
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act, protects the privacy of those in the workplace that have been diagnosed with COVID-19. You cannot disclose an individual’s identifiable health information, including their name, current condition, or demographic data, and all medical records must be kept confidential.
While you may announce general information about possible exposure, you must not disclose identifying information. For example, “We have reason to believe that the dayshift workers at the company’s location A may have been exposed to COVID-19 yesterday,” is an acceptable announcement.
Do not forget your legal requirements as an employer, or you may face additional problems during this crisis. For more human resources COVID-19 crisis management information and support, reach out to Employer Support Services today.