Page 29 - Scene Magazine 45-03 March 2020
P. 29

                                    Business Perspectiv
  es
BY KARA BEER, PRESIDENT
    and are as prepared as possible to pro- tect the health of their workers.
• Local decision making: Employers with more than one business loca- tion are encouraged to provide local managers with the authority to take appropriate actions based on the con- ditions in each locality.
Our partners at the U.S. Chamber
are working closely with the White House, U.S. government agencies, and foreign government officials to inform and equip businesses with the most important and up-to-date information to ensure we are all adequately prepared to protect Americans at home and abroad.
Coordinate with state and local health officials. Coordination with state and local health officials is strongly encouraged for all businesses so that timely and accurate information can guide appropriate responses in each location where their operations reside. Given the intensity of an outbreak may differ according to geographic location, local health officials will be issuing guidance specific to their communities. Also, employers should take the time now to learn about plans in place in each community where they have a business by contacting their local public health department.
• Employee travel: Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervi- sor and should promptly call a health- care provider for advice if needed.
All employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforce from the Coronavirus while ensuring continuity of operations.
• Separate sick employees: CDC recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory ill- ness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately.
In advance of employees getting sick:
Determine whether flex working is an option. Review human resources policies and explore whether you can establish policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours. Supervisors should educate employees that if they become sick they should telework in- stead of coming into the workplace until symptoms are completely resolved.
Make a business continuity plan.
Be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize customers, consider digital meetings, or temporarily suspend some of your operations if needed).
• Social distancing: Plan to minimize exposure between healthy employees and also between those employees and the public, if public health offi- cials call for social distancing.
Create an employee communications plan. Establish a process to communi- cate the latest Coronavirus information to employees and business partners (utilize the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Workplace Tips for Employees). Antic- ipate employee fear, anxiety, rumors, and misinformation, and plan communi- cations accordingly.
When Employees Get Sick:
• Workplace hygiene: Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces can be wiped down by employees before each use.
With the U.S. now reporting a limited number of COVID-19 cases, it’s important that businesses of all sizes and sectors continue to mon- itor the situation
health guidance, permit employees
to stay home to care for a sick family member, and that employees are aware of these policies. Actively encourage sick employees to stay home. Employ- ees should notify their supervisor if they are sick and won’t be coming into the office.
Protecting the Health of Workers
Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible. Consistent with public
       Decide how to handle spikes in absen- teeism. In some communities, early child- hood programs and K-12 schools may
be dismissed, particularly if Coronavirus worsens. Determine how you will operate if absenteeism spikes from increases in sick employees, those who stay home to care for sick family members, and those who must stay home to watch their chil- dren if dismissed from school.
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 HEALTH ISSUE I SCENE 4503 29
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