Can management send an employee home if the employee comes to work sick or displaying obvious cold or flu symptoms? If so, will the employee be required to use paid accrued leave?

Employees who are sick should stay home and use paid sick leave to cover their time away from the office. Supervisors and managers have the discretion to send home an employee who reports to work sick or who is displaying cold or flu symptoms (such as fever, chills, coughing, body aches, shortness of breath, etc.). Please note, merely experiencing these symptoms does not mean that an employee has COVID-19; it only means that the employee is sick and should go home. Supervisors and managers who intend to send an employee home should speak with the employee privately and should not discuss with other employees that the employee was sent home or why.

If the employee is experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms and is in the process of seeking a medical diagnosis, the employee may be able to use Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL). EPSL is available to cover the first 80 hours (full-time employees working 40+ hours per week) or two weeks (part-time) based on the number of hours worked, on average, over a 2 week period, for time out of the office due to illness. All employees regardless of employee type (regular, temporary, or unclassified) who are sick and seeking a medical diagnosis are eligible for this leave, with the exception of healthcare providers and emergency responders.  Once this leave type is expended, the employee will use accrued sick leave and other paid leave (if sick leave is not available) if more leave time is needed. The employee should follow the guidance of their healthcare practitioner as to when to return to work.

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1. Why are face coverings required in the workplace?
2. What should I do if I come in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or is showing symptoms?
3. What is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and what benefits am I entitled to under this new law?
4. What are the County’s policies on the use of sick leave or telework for employees who are diagnosed with or displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19?
5. Can management send an employee home if the employee comes to work sick or displaying obvious cold or flu symptoms? If so, will the employee be required to use paid accrued leave?
6. Can management require an employee to provide a doctor’s note “clearing” the employee to return to work?
7. When can I return to work if I am feeling sick?
8. What should I do if I am concerned that my co-worker may be contagious or is caring for or lives with someone who is contagious?
9. What happens if an employee is sick and does not have any accrued sick leave?
10. Can an employee telework instead of using sick leave?
11. Will an employee with the COVID-19 virus be covered by Family Medical Leave?
12. What if the employee was exposed to the COVID-19 virus at work as a result of his/her job duties? Will the employee’s exposure to illness and/or subsequent illness be covered by Workers’ Compensation?
13. What if an employee needs time off to care for a sick relative with the COVID-19 virus?
14. What accommodations or assistance will be given to employees with child care issues due to a COVID-19 related school closure?
15. I am signed up to go to a conference and I’ve already made travel plans. Since the County has cancelled non-essential travel, what should I do?
16. Does our County medical insurance plan offer any options for virtual care?
17. I am very worried and fearful about COVID-19 and the potential impacts to me and my family. What resources does the County have available to assist employees with dealing with stress?
18. If I or a family member is exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus and are also covered under the Cigna health plan, how will the COVID-19 testing be covered?
19. I have a question that is not addressed in this FAQ. Who should I direct my inquiry to?