What are the return-to-work instructions for employees with COVID-19?
• If you had symptoms of COVID-19, you can end your home isolation and return to work when:
At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared
However, you may need to wait up to 20 days if you had a severe case of COVID-19 or if you are immunocompromised. Talk with a healthcare provider to decide how long you need to wait.
AND at least 24 hours have passed since you last had a fever without using fever-reducing medication.
AND your other symptoms have improved — for example, your cough or shortness of breath has improved.
• If you never had any symptoms and are not immunocompromised, you can end your home isolation and return to work when at least 10 days have passed after the date you first tested positive for COVID-19.
Can I be forced to work during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Generally, your employer may require you to come to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some government emergency orders may affect which businesses can remain open during the pandemic. Under federal law, you are entitled to a safe workplace. Your employer must provide a safe and healthful workplace.
Should I require employees to provide a doctor’s note or positive coronavirus disease test result?
Under what health conditions should an employee not enter the workspace during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Employees should not return to work until they meet the criteria to discontinue home isolation and have consulted with a healthcare provider. Employers should not require a sick employee to provide a negative COVID-19 test result or healthcare provider's note to return to work.
Bringing exposed workers back should not be the first or most appropriate option to pursue in managing critical work tasks. Quarantine for 14 days is still the safest approach to limit the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the chance of an outbreak among the workforce.
Can an employer require an employee to provide a note from their healthcare provider due to COVID-19 concerns?
Employers should not require sick employees to provide a COVID-19 test result or a healthcare provider’s note to validate their illness, qualify for sick leave, or to return to work. Healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely manner.
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. Ensure that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of and understand these policies.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Actexternal icon (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. Employers with fewer than 500 employees are eligible for 100% tax credits for Families First Coronavirus Response Act COVID-19 paid leave provided through December 31, 2020, up to certain limits.
• Immediately separate employees who report with or develop symptoms at work from other employees and arrange for private transport home. These employees should self-isolate and contact their health care provider immediately.
• Close off any areas that were used for prolonged periods of time by the sick person, if it is practical to do so.
• Perform enhanced cleaning and disinfection after anyone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in the workplace. Cleaning staff should clean and disinfect offices, bathrooms, common areas, and shared equipment used by the sick person, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces or objects. If other workers do not have access to these areas or items, wait 24 hours (or as long as possible) before cleaning and disinfecting.
No, typically that employee would not be eligible for regular unemployment compensation or PUA. Eligibility for regular unemployment compensation varies by state but generally does not include those who voluntarily leave employment.
If both of you are healthy and feeling well, are practicing social distancing and have had no known exposure to anyone with COVID-19, touching, hugging, kissing, and sex are more likely to be safe.