Question: Does OSHA protect everyone?

Can I be forced to work during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Generally, your employer may require you to come to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some government emergency orders may affect which businesses can remain open during the pandemic. Under federal law, you are entitled to a safe workplace. Your employer must provide a safe and healthful workplace.

What should workplaces do if they suspect someone has been infected with COVID-19?

Perform cleaning and disinfection after anyone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in the workplace. Cleaning staff should clean and disinfect offices, bathrooms, common areas, and shared electronic equipment used by the ill persons, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.

When should an employee suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 return to work?

Employees should not return to work until they meet the criteria to discontinue home isolation and have consulted with a healthcare provider. Employers should not require a sick employee to provide a negative COVID-19 test result or healthcare provider’s note to return to work.

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Who do I do if my employer refuses to provide me sick leave during the COVID-19 pandemic?

If you believe that your employer is covered and is improperly refusing you paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, the Department encourages you to raise and try to resolve your concerns with your employer. Regardless of whether you discuss your concerns with your employer, if you believe your employer is improperly refusing you paid sick leave, you may call 1-866-4US-WAGE (1-866-487-9243).

Can an employer require an employee to provide a note from their healthcare provider due to COVID-19 concerns?

Employers should not require sick employees to provide a COVID-19 test result or a healthcare provider’s note to validate their illness, qualify for sick leave, or to return to work. Healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely manner.

Should employers provide remote work for employees at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19?

At all levels of community transmission, employers should provide reassignment, remote work, or other options for staff who have documented high-risk conditions or who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 to limit the risk of workplace exposure.

What is the protocol when an employee is tested positive for COVID-19?

If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Those who have symptoms should self-isolate and follow CDC recommended steps.

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What should Critical Infrastructure Employees Who May Have Had Exposure to COVID-19 do?

A critical infrastructure employee who is symptom-free and returns to work should wear a cloth face covering at all times while in the workplace for 14 days after last exposure. Employers can issue cloth face coverings or can approve employees’ supplied cloth face coverings in the event of shortages.

What are the guidelines for people who has had close contact with someone with COVID-19?

Anyone who has had close contact with someone with COVID-19 should stay home for 14 days after their last exposure to that person.