As reports of coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) begin to inundate news and social media feeds, employers around the globe are struggling to keep up with the recommendations and updates health-related organizations are providing. Below are vetted and reliable resources to help employers prepare their workforce for this evolving public health concern.
Urgent COVID-19 Employer Resources
With the rapidly changing information and updates surrounding COVID-19, we have compiled a one-stop-shop to provide the most up-to-date and immediately relevant information and resources to prepare and protect your business. These resources are updated daily, if not hourly, to ensure the most accurate information to help you navigate through this unprecedented time.
- For up-to-date news, the CDC has prepared general summary page to answer many of the basic questions surrounding COVID-19.
- The CDC has also published a report on the number of cases and the spread of the disease, which will be updated every business day at noon.
- For those in need of unemployment answers, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has created a Q&A to provide guidance for those affected by any shutdowns.
- For Ohio-specific questions, please reference the Ohio Department of Health’s portal specifically for COVID-19.
- Included in this portal is a go-to reference for some of the basic questions the public is asking. We recommend distributing educational materials like this to address the risks and necessary safeguards.
- They have also provided a list of public health orders to help reduce the amount of mis-information.
- For Cincinnati-specific resources, please visit the Better Business Bureau’s Greater Cincinnati COVID-19 Resources page.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration has Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease in 2019, including information on Economic Injury Disaster Loan Programs, SBA Products and Resources, and more.
- As of April 2, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act will be put into place to cushion our economy in times of crisis. This bill addresses concerns such as emergency sick leave, emergency FML expansion, and more.
What is Coronavirus?
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is one of the most reliable sources for information at this time. They’ve compiled a list of recommendations for how businesses can plan and respond to COVID-19, as well as a brief explanation of how it spreads.
- Our eLearning partner, MYCA:Learning, has culled the best advice from experts into an easy-to-read, easy-to-digest, informative eBook. This eBook comes free of charge in order to further encourage safety in the workplace.
How to prepare my workplace for the coronavirus?
- If you’re looking for a basic overview, check out our recommendations for Preparing Your Workplace for the Coronavirus.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, a comprehensive guide to preparation and prevention.
- OSHA also released a fact sheet, Protecting Workers During a Pandemic, where they addressed the risk levels associated with today’s work environment – including the need for masks or special accommodations.
- Should I wear a mask? Not necessarily, as masks do not provide an air-tight seal. We read OSHA’s fact sheet and broke down the levels of risk.
- The CDC shared a checklist for businesses to utilize as they protect their workplaces and their employees against pandemic influenza and COVID-19.
- The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) shared basic ways to keep your workplace clean amidst rising concerns of COVID-19.
- If you’re looking for a lawyer’s perspective, consider reading Lee Geiger’s Practical Approaches for the Workplace.
How to handle business travel amidst coronavirus concerns?
- The World Health Organization (WHO) put out an informational piece on what COVID-19 is, how it spreads, and things to consider before you or your team travel for business.
- The CDC provides the latest updates on travel information to protect and prepare those who are on the road. For the most up-to-date information, we highly recommend keeping an eye on the site as the CDC will not only have the most recent, but the most accurate information.
- If you have overseas operations, pull the CDC’s Overseas Checklist into your preparations. This will outline the necessary steps and precautions you should be taking while working towards business continuity.
How do we handle pay and sick time?
- This is determined in several ways – including OSHA and Fair Labor Standards Act regulations. Franczek addressed some of these concerns in their FAQ “Coronavirus: How to Properly Pay Employees in the Event of a Pandemic.“
- In their HR Tip of the Week, ADP compiled recommendations of how to address both exempt and hourly pay concerns.
- This Wall Street Journal article shares how employers from different industries are navigating the challenges of this virus and how to handle sick time.
- The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has been monitoring the situation very closely, and has prepared a list of Frequently Asked Questions in order to provide some answers in regards to claims and policy processing.
What if an employee starts to feel sick?
- We return to the CDC’s recommendations. If you believe that you could have COVID-19, read the CDC’s recommended steps to care for yourself and prevent the spread of illness.
- If an employee begins to feel ill, Dr. on Demand has created an assessment to help guide you through any potential symptoms and related recommendations.
Protecting your workforce moving forward
Educate your employees on good hygiene practices – this is truly your best defense in the workplace to reduce the spread of infection. Frequent hand washing, properly covering sneezes and coughs, and cleaning/disinfecting of work surfaces will provide many of the necessary protections in the workplace.
In order to make sure that you’re well informed, keep your eye on websites like the CDC’s and the WHO’s to ensure that the information you’re consuming is accurate and up-to-date.
We will continue to add new information and links to this article as new information is available.
Want to ensure that your organization is fully prepared for workplace emergencies? Check out our Emergency Preparedness Toolkit – a customizable policy and planning tool with documentation templates and advice on how to organize your committees and planning teams.