In a recent interview I was asked about what employers need to know about the H1N1 virus as a follow up to my recent post on how employers need to be prepared for H1N1. I didn’t have a lot of time to respond as the question came towards the end of the program and we ran out of time. As a follow up, I thought I would mention that Connecticut employment lawyer, Daniel Schwartz, has a great post on H1N1 and the workplace. Daniel lists some available resources and has several recommendations for employers to get ready for the flu season:
- Update (or create) a Business Continuity Policy with specific provisions for H1N1 flu.
- Encourage employees to get flu shots (both seasonal and H1N1) as soon as possible. To the extent that you offer health insurance to employees, determine if those shots are covered under the appropriate plans. And consider offering flu shot clinics if you have the resources.
- Clarify what your absence and illness policies will be. Consider having flexibility in this situation if you can to encourage employees who are sick (who have someone that is sick in their household) to stay home.
- Make sure your infrastructure can handle an increased telecommuting presence if need be.
- Stay updated on the EEOC guidance.
I couldn’t agree more that employers need to have flexibility in your policies. This is one time where it is likely okay to vary from your existing leave policies. However, it is imperative that if you do so, you treat all employees in a fair and consistent manner.