Intro by Alix Vollmer, Residential Warranty Services, Inc.
For employees and employers alike, COVID-19 has certainly made 2020 interesting; the changing laws, the lack of guidance on many of the regulations passed, and the everchanging employment landscape has left many companies and individuals struggling to balance compliance with the best interests of their employees and their businesses. One of the ways employers have been struggling is in industries where work from home is not practical or possible. Here, safety and hygiene measures have been added to their daily routines to ensure the safety of their employees, including contact tracing procedures for any actual or potential exposures, to ensure the health and safety of all.
Close contacts, previously defined by the Center of Disease Control as “within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes within 48 hours of an employee showing symptoms”, this definition has now been updated and narrowed render the 15 minutes as cumulative and to include asymptomatic testing.
This expanded definition is placing a much greater burden on employers as they now must add up how many minutes employees may have been in close contact cumulatively over 24 or 48 hours and, for those individuals who choose to get tested for purely precautionary measures, these actions now trigger contact tracing requirements, which may lead to emotional responses from coworkers that one may have been exposed even if the close contact was simply taking a test for precautionary measures without symptoms.
Fisher Phillips, a labor and employment law group, has provided the following alert regarding the CDC’s latest guidance, along with suggestions on how employers can alleviate the additional burden mounted by the CDC guidelines on contact tracing; please see here.
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