What can a business owner do to help slow, if not prevent, the spread of the virus? Here’s a quick checklist:
If an employee, or an employee’s family member, contracts COVID-19, the employee may be entitled to time off from work under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). An illness like COVID-19 may qualify as a serious health condition under the FMLA if it involves inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider. Employees may also be entitled to FMLA leave when taking time off for medical examinations to determine whether a serious health condition exists.
Many states and localities also have employee leave laws that could apply in a situation where the employee or family member contracts COVID-19. Some of these laws require employees to be given paid time off, while other laws require unpaid leave. Employers should become familiar with the laws in their jurisdiction to ensure that they are compliant.
In a move welcomed both by employers and employees, the IRS issued Notice 2020-15, which allows high deductible health plans, or HDHPs, to pay for COVID-19 testing and treatment before the plan’s deductible is met. In its notice, the IRS also explained that, as in the past, any vaccination costs continue to count as preventive care.
Many states, meanwhile, are directing or encouraging health insurance companies to cover COVID-19 testing and treatment without any cost-sharing.
Elsewhere, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reminded employers that incidents of employees contracting COVID-19 at work are recordable illnesses, subject to the same rules and failure-to-record fines as other workplace injuries and illnesses.
OSHA doesn’t require employers to record incidents of employees contracting common colds and the flu in the workplace, but that’s not the case with COVID-19, it said.
Despite the low risk of exposure in most job sectors, some workers may have been exposed to infectious people, including travelers who contracted COVID-19 abroad. Workers with increased exposure risk include those involved in:
Just what happens next, including how long and far this coronoavirus spreads, is impossible to tell. The outbreak could be short-lived, or not. Either way, remember to let your people know what you’re doing and what they should do. Communication will be key to keeping people calm, safe and focused.
Spencer Mahoney is CCIG’s Executive Vice President. Reach him at 720-212-2051 or Spencer.Mahoney@thinkccig.com.
CCIG is a Denver-area insurance, employee benefits and surety brokerage with clients nationwide. We do more than make sure you have the right policy. We help you manage your long-term cost of insurance with our risk and claims management expertise and a commitment to service excellence.