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         such  protected areas  should  consider                     Plan for Disruption
         reimbursements for quarantine time.   Every business needs a road map   employees who must stay at home at
         “Employers should  avoid being penny   for surviving with slimmer staffs   certain times to care for family members.
         wise and pound foolish,” says Joseph   when employees stay home because of   • Share best practices with other
         Deng,  an  employment law  partner   the coronavirus. “The most important   businesses in the region and with the
         at Baker  &  McKenzie  in  Los  Angeles   thing is to have a plan and communi-  local chamber of commerce.
         ( “They should es-  cate it to employees and customers,”   Additional ideas are  available  in
         tablish non-punitive leave policies, and   says Brian Baker, Vice President of   the document “Interim Guidance for
         that includes  loosening  requirements   Hagerty Consulting, an emergency   Businesses  and Employers” located
                                              management  consulting  firm  based
         that employees provide doctors’ notes   in  Evanston,  IL  (hagertyconsulting.  No plan will work if it remains un-
         to prove sickness.  Bear in  mind that   com).  “The  plan  should  answer  two   heeded. “We recommend that employ-
         local health workers will likely be over-  questions: What functions does the or-  ers  clearly  communicate  their  rules
         whelmed with live cases and may not   ganization need to perform to stay in   and policies regarding the coronavi-
         be able to provide such notes.”      business?  And  how  can  those  essen-  rus,” says Susan Gross Sholinsky,
           SANITIZING THE WORKPLACE           tial functions continue, given a pos-  Vice Chair of the Employment, La-
           Whatever the details of an organi-  sible uptick in employee absenteeism   bor & Workforce Management prac-
         zation’s response  program, though,  it   and a decrease in the customer base?”  tice of Epstein Becker Green in New
         must begin with the maintenance of a   Employers may consider these steps:  York ( “Companies with
         virus-free environment.               • Allow teleworking for those em-  intranet sites should link them to all
           “An  employer’s  general  duty  is  to   ployees able to perform their duties   virus-related communications and tell
         maintain the health and safety of the   from home.                    employees to check the site frequently
         workplace,” says Deng. “A business    • Establish  flexible  work  hours  for   for updates and guidance.”
         must be free of hazards that are likely
         to cause death or serious physical harm.   to are limiting or prohibiting all future   infectious disease control,” says Deng.
         In light of the virus, employers should   international travel,” says Sholinsky.   “Instead, they should call ahead to de-
         pay close attention to what the national,   “They are also asking employees if they   termine whether symptoms are consis-
         state and local authorities are advising.”   have traveled internationally, whether   tent with a COVID-19 infection. If they
           At  the  national  level,  the  Centers  for   for business or pleasure, and are requir-  are, the individuals will be directed to
         Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)   ing them to stay home if they have vis-  the appropriate testing facility.”
         continually updates a website with advice   ited countries with elevated risk. When   Employees  with  the  relevant  symp-
         about reducing the chances of infection.   feasible, audio and video conferencing is   toms should stay away from the work-
         (To access the information go to www.cdc.  taking the place of in-person visits.”   place  even  if  they  have  not  been  defi-
         gov and search for “Interim Guidance for   • Restricting outsider visits. “Some   nitely diagnosed with the coronavirus.
         Businesses and Employers”).        companies are limiting third parties   “Traditionally in our country’s culture
           State  and  local  authorities  may  also   who can come into the offices, separate   people come to work sick,” says Brian
         provide  information  on  their  own  web-  and apart from their own employees,”   Baker, Vice President of Hagerty Con-
         sites. “Advice at the local level is espe-  says Sholinsky.  “Visiting clients  and   sulting, an emergency management
         cially  important,” says  Deng. “It will   vendors are being asked where they   consulting  firm  based  in  Evanston,  IL
         be directly related to what’s happening   have traveled  in the last few weeks,   ( “But the novel
         with the virus in the area where a busi-  and whether  they are exhibiting any   coronavirus is extremely contagious, and
         ness is located—just as a recommended   flu-like symptoms.”           we do not have the diagnostics to tell us
         response to a hurricane will depend on   • Coordinating with vendors. The   who has the virus and who doesn’t.”
         the proximity of the storm to a business.”   CDC website suggests businesses “talk   Some sick leave reimbursement de-
           Much of the guidance from all levels   with companies that provide contract   cisions may be based on the circum-
         deals with the proper sanitation of the   or temporary employees about the   stances surrounding the event. “In some
         work  environment.  “The  most  signifi-  importance of sick  employees staying   cases, an individual who is out sick for
         cant thing businesses  can do is make   home  and encourage  them to develop   an extended period of time because of
         sure employees engage in proper hy-  non-punitive leave policies.”    COVID-19 may be entitled to short term
         giene practices,” says Sholinsky. “They   SICK WORKERS                disability,” says Sholinsky. “An employ-
         should keep their premises clean, dis-  Despite management’s best efforts,   ee who was infected while on business
         infecting doorknobs,  elevator buttons,   some employees may fall sick. Anyone   travel to an affected country may be eli-
         and community equipment such as    who comes down with symptoms of the   gible for workers compensation.”
         printers,  and commonly  used  kitchen   virus (fever, coughing, and shortness of   PRIVACY CONCERNS
         items such as refrigerator handles.”  breath) should  be separated from the   Concerns of employee privacy should
           Employers are also taking steps such   workplace  and required  to remain  at   be paramount for any business dealing
         as the following:                  home. That will protect their cowork-  with the coronavirus outbreak. “Gener-
           • Limiting travel. In March the Unit-  ers  from infection,  helping to contain   ally speaking, if you are asking ques-
         ed States suspended  travel into  the   the spread of the disease.    tions about an employee’s  life outside
         country for non-American citizens from   Afflicted  individuals  should  contact   of the workplace there should be a le-
         28 European countries.  Additionally,   their healthcare provider, or the state   gitimate, business-related  reason  for
         some states, including Florida, Hawaii   or local health department, for advice   doing so,” says Sholinsky.  “You  need
         and Alaska, have instituted quaran-  on what to do next. “Infected individu-  to balance the important information
         tine periods for any traveler arriving   als  should not  go  straight  to the  doc-  needed about someone’s health in light
         from specified domestic regions.   tor’s office or to the hospital emergency   of COVID-19 concerns against the in-
            “Most of the companies I am talking   room, because they are not equipped for       continued on page 30
         28     Wire Rope News & Sling Technology   April 2020
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