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What Employers Can Do
Actively encourage sick employees to stay home when sick:
  • Employees who have symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) should notify their supervisor and stay home.
  • Sick employees should follow CDC-recommended steps for those who are sick. Employees should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with health care providers and state and local health departments.
  • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and follow CDC-recommended precautions.

Identify where and how workers might be exposed to COVID-19 at work:

  • See the OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, which includes steps to take for jobs according to exposure risk.
  • Be aware some employees may be at higher risk for serious illness, such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions. Consider minimizing face-to-face contact between these employees or assign work tasks that allow them to maintain a distance of six feet from other workers, customers and visitors, or to telework if possible.

Separate sick employees:

  • Employees who appear to have symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) upon arrival at work or who become sick during the day should immediately be separated from other employees, customers, and visitors and sent home.
  • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19 infection, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The fellow employees should then self-monitor for symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath).

Implement flexible sick leave and supportive policies and practices:

  • Due to the current strain on the medical system, do not require that employees provide a doctor's note to call in sick or return to work after recovering from illness.
  • Ensure sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of and understand these policies.
  • Maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member or take care of children due to school and childcare closures. Additional flexibilities might include giving advances on future sick leave and allowing employees to donate sick leave to each other.
  • Employers that do not currently offer sick leave to some or all of their employees may want to draft non-punitive “emergency sick leave” policies.
  • Employers should not require a positive COVID-19 test result or a health care provider’s note for employees who are sick to validate their illness, qualify for sick leave, or to return to work. Health care provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely manner.
  • Review human resources policies to make sure that policies and practices are consistent with public health recommendations and are consistent with existing state and federal workplace laws (for more information on employer responsibilities, visit the Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission websites).
  • Connect employees to employee assistance program (EAP) resources (if available) and community resources as needed. Employees may need additional social, behavioral, and other services, for example, to cope with the death of a loved one.
Emphasize Respiratory Etiquette and Hand Hygiene
  • Place posters that encourage staying home when sick, cough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
  • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
  • Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol, or, wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained.

We also encourage employees, onsite contractors, and customers to:

  • Stop handshaking
    • Use other non-contact methods of greeting
  • Clean hands at the door and schedule regular hand washing reminders by email
  • Promote tap and pay when possible to reduce the handling of cash
Perform Routine Environmental Cleaning
  • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, doorknobs, and handrails.
  • No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
  • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.
  • Increase ventilation by opening windows or adjusting heating and air conditioning systems

EPA-Approved Disinfectants for COVID-19

CDPHE: Environmental Cleaning Guidance for COVID-19

Consider Creating an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response Plan
  • Ensure the plan is flexible and involve your employees in developing and reviewing your plan.
  • Conduct a focused discussion or exercise using your plan, to find out ahead of time whether the plan has gaps or problems that need to be corrected.
  • Share your plan with employees and explain what human resources policies, workplace and leave flexibilities, and pay and benefits will be available to them.
  • Share best practices with other businesses in your communities (especially those in your supply chain), chambers of commerce, and associations to improve community response efforts.
Additional Measures in Response to Currently Occurring Sporadic Importations of COVID-19