The following recommendations and actions should be considered, and, when possible, taken in advance of pandemic health crises to ensure operations run as smoothly as possible during periods of widespread illness and absenteeism.
- Discuss the potential pandemic and the possibility of an outbreak with your employees. Explain that, should a pandemic health crisis occur, Champlain College teaching will carry on (possibly using alternative teaching technologies) and most other operations will continue to the extent feasible.
- Remind your employees to read information provided by the College about the pandemic.
- Encourage employees to read the Centers for Disease Control updates.
- Remind employees to update their emergency contact information in the People Center system.
- Suggest that employees sign up for payroll direct deposit if they have not already done so (paper checks may not be cut if the College is closed).
- Create a phone tree if you have a large number of employees in your department. Ensure you have a back-up person to initiate calls if you are unable to do so.
- Assess all positions and employees for potential alternative work arrangements. Alternative work arrangements may include:
- Telecommuting: working from home or elsewhere by means of computer, internet, phone, Skype, etc. (who is able to work from home?)
- Flexible work schedule: if working from home is not a viable solution, consider what flexible work arrangements could be made in order to implement “social distancing” practices at work? Who could work what hours in the office in order to avoid contact with others (i.e. four six-hour shifts)? Do you have disinfectants available to disinfect machines (photocopiers, etc.) between shifts?
- Compressed work week: if telecommuting/working from home is not an option, compressed work weeks may further facilitate “social distancing” practices (i.e. each staff member works three-and-a-half 10-hour days at work)?
Employee Illness and Exposure
If the College requires employees with pandemic flu symptoms or exposure to the pandemic flu virus to self-isolate based on CDC or health department guidance, Managers should communicate the self-isolation information to employees and ensure they comply with the guideline. Managers, and/or their designees, are encouraged to communicate regularly with employees who are performing work from home during a pandemic health crisis.
If self-isolation is not required, Managers should follow the following guidelines:
If the employee appears ill with pandemic flu-like symptoms, the supervisor should express concern that the employee appears ill with pandemic flu-like symptoms and encourage employee to take leave.
If the employee DOES take leave: Grant leave and send employee home with paid sick time off.
If the employee DOES NOT take leave: consult with Manager or Vice President for their Department (HR alternatively) to determine if there is objective evidence of medical incapacity to perform position’s essential duties.
- If there is objective evidence that the employee is ill, send the employee home with paid sick time off.
- If there is no objective evidence that the employee is ill, discuss social distancing practices to alternative work arrangements with the employee
If the employee has a known, recent, and direct exposure to others with pandemic influenza, but is still capable of working, the supervisor should express concern that employee could be ill or contagious and suggest that employee go home and, if able, work from home.
If the employee DOES take leave: Grant alternative work arrangements, or, if employee becomes ill, with paid sick time off.
If the employee DOES NOT take leave and insists on being at work: Implement social distancing practices or alternative work schedules.
Note: Employees who do not work due to an influenza-like illness during the current health pandemic will be paid for the time they are sick which could include the required isolation period of up to 14 days.