Employers should always convince sick employees to stay at home until they get better. However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the whole process is at a whole new level. If a person tests positive, they have to stay away from work, whether they are hospitalized, or asymptomatic.
With all the rules, knowing when an employee can come back to work might be a bit confusing. The Center for Disease Control created special return to work guidelines that should help you understand when you or your worker can get back to the office. The guidelines were recently changed, and they have caused some controversy.
The main change is the necessity of a negative test. In the past, CDC suggested that before coming back to work after having contact with an infected person, or after being infected, a person should take a Covid-19 return-to-work testing and come back to the office only if the result was negative. Now it's not a requirement, even though this raises concerns amongst medical doctors.
According to new standards, if you know or suspect you might have Covid and had symptoms, you can return to work for coronavirus guideline if:
- 10 days passed since the first day with symptoms,
- 24 hours pass without a fever, if fever-reducing medications weren't used,
- Other symptoms of the virus are improving (not including loss of smell and taste as it can remain even a few months after recovering)
Those new rules of return to work guidelines can cause a bit of additional stress, as it might not be clear for some people if they are working in a safe office space. However, the general rule is that if you have mild symptoms but start getting better, you can go back to work, even if you have caught other mild symptoms. You don't need to have a negative test.
If you are severely suffering from Covid or suffer from additional illnesses and autoimmune diseases, you don't have to go back to the office as soon as possible. In those types of cases, CDC guidelines for returning to work recommend waiting 20 days after symptoms appear, and health care professionals confirm that you are fine and ready to work.
If you were tested positive but don't have any symptoms, you can be back at work after 10 days. In case you were exposed to Covid but not tested, you can return after 14 days (the extra days are enough to let the virus incubate). It keeps an employee from the office for two weeks, but it reduces the hassle of testing and extra doctor consultation.
Remember that if your employee is asymptomatic and they can work from home. If a mildly symptomatic person wants to work from home, they can. Never strain employees and let them rest when they need to.
What Role Do Businesses and Employers Play in Responding to the Pandemic?
Every single person should try to prevent spreading the virus. The role of businesses and employers in slowing down the spread of Covid-19 cannot be underestimated. The way that employers respond and control the situation can significantly influence the safety of many people.
Businesses should take into consideration the possibility of social distancing in the workplace for their return to work guidelines and the ability to stagger employees' shifts. They also should provide return to work kits for employees who are back to work. Employers need to reduce the in-person interactions of their workers with other people. They should also keep people updated regarding policies of sick leave. Meanwhile, they have to take care to continue with operations that are crucial for the company. Business can organize return to work training for employees to improve overall office health.
Employers should follow recent information and act accordingly to the recommendation of authorities. They should also consider the number of Covid-19 cases in the communities connected with the business.
Extra Measurements for Return to Work Guidelines That Can Prevent Covid-19 From Spreading in Your Office
Locate your employees at a safe distance from each other when it's possible. Encourage them to not gather in groups in common spaces such as canteens, break rooms, etc.
Ask your employees to measure their temperature before going back to work after quarantine. If you notice any symptoms that can suggest that a person might be infected, keep the distance and ask them to reach for medical help.
If possible, installing physical barriers is a necessary step in return to work guidelines. It can separate your employees from each other and clients when social distancing is impossible. Most barriers are made of glass or plastic, or employers can design private space for employees with a privacy panel. Partitions help protect your employees from mucous membranes located in respiratory droplets (sneezes, talking, breaths, coughs).
Whether at work, in public transport, or any other place, you have to take extra measures recommended by WHO to keep yourself and others safe. Frequently wash your hands or use hand sanitizer with a minimum of 60% alcohol. As an employee, you might place antiseptic gel dispensers in various places of your company, especially those areas where people touch a lot of things.
One of the recommended ways to prevent the spreading of Covid-19 is the use of a face mask for Covid-19. Many countries that implemented the use of masks noticed a drop-down in the number of cases.
On the market, you can find various masks. However, not all of them give you high protection from the virus. Be sure to verify that the mask actually works. If you want extra protection, pick a graphene antiviral mask that protects from 99.99% viral particles.
This mask is made of Graphene: a single hexagonal lattice of graphite. It is thin like an atom, and it's not even a metaphor. Discovering this material was honored with the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010. The material is super light, transparent, flexible, but also strong as steel. Moreover, it also protects from most liquids.
The return-to-work guidelines might seem a bit overwhelming. However, it's crucial for stopping the pandemic to follow the recommended behaviors. If you are infected with Covid, search for professional help and follow authorities' recommendations. As an employer, keep all your workers informed about all their responsibilities and rights. Always let them rest when they are sick. You should actively encourage them to stay home.
In case of doubts, consult CDC guidelines for returning to work. As the situation with the Coronavirus Pandemic is very dynamic, try to stay up to date with all crucial information of CDC back to work guidelines.
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