The continued spread of coronavirus is forcing companies to find ways to deal with a potential outbreak. This could include furloughs, sick leave, working from home, limiting travel to countries that have been impacted or asking employers to get a medical exam before returning to work.
“This can put hourly workers in a bind, and make employees in the U.S. more likely to show up for work when they are sick,” said Joseph Deng, who specializes in employment and compensation law at Baker & McKenzie in Los Angeles.
The CDC has already suggested that employers place policies that allow workers who are feeling sick to stay at home without repercussions.
Those who have recently traveled abroad might be asked to stay home for the virus’s incubation period of about two weeks.
Depending on your company’s policies, you may still be able to get paid if you are told to stay at home. Some employees are even using this opportunity to work from home if possible, while others are using vacation time or sick leave.
According to a survey of 48 big employers in the U.S. from the Business Group on Health, 68% of respondents said they would pay employees for as long as they are quarantined.
Still, many employers are not obligated to pay workers that are not able to work, which could impact smaller businesses. Federal law states that hourly workers be paid for the time they work, while salaried workers typically get paid during a business disruption.