- To avoid disruption to your business, begin planning now. If you have an emergency response team, that team should begin preparing how you will respond if a significant portion of your employees are absent due to swine flu. If your business does not have a disaster recovery plan, you should create one now. This plan will not be specific to the current situation but would address any potential business interruption that could occur. You should examine ways to enable employees to work from home as needed. Of course, remember that your non-exempt employees must still keep track of hours worked.
- Communicate with your employees. Remind employees that they should not come to work if they have flu-like symptoms and that they should seek medical treatment to see if they require anti-viral medications. If you have an employee who has swine flu, you should notify the potentially affected employees without disclosing confidential medical information. Inform employees of the company`s disaster plans and provide home contact information.
- Practice good hygiene within your workplace. Remind employees that they should wash their hands frequently. Tell employees to cover coughs and sneezes.
- You cannot automatically terminate an employee who has swine flu or whose family member has the swine flu. The employee may be eligible for job protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Every eligible employee who needs FMLA will be entitled to such leave regardless of how many employees it affects. However, an employee who is unable to come to work because his child`s school has been cancelled is not eligible for FMLA leave. He can be required to use any available paid time off for any such absences.
- Review your employee`s business travel plans and determine whether planned travel to Mexico is necessary. The Centers for Disease Control has advised travelers to avoid any non-essential travel to Mexico at this time.
Helpful links you may want to review:
OSHA`s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for Influenza Pandemic (issued in 2007 in response to the avian flu outbreak).