“Vacation Travel Policies May Need to Be Altered Due to Pandemic,” Society for Human Resource Management
Suzanne Singer provides insight on employers altering vacation travel policies due to the COVID-19 pandemic in an article published by the Society for Human Resource Management on August 11, 2020.
These policies should specify whether employees who are required to self-quarantine must telecommute during the self-quarantine or use paid time off to cover that period.
“An employee probably isn’t entitled to paid sick leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) for having to self-quarantine after travel,” explains Singer. “However, if the employee is able to get a doctor to issue a quarantine order or if the employee develops symptoms, the employee may become eligible for FFCRA sick leave,” she said.
Employees can be required to sign a travel advisory before vacation, Singer suggested.
The travel advisory might ask the employee to acknowledge that if the worker travels to any area designated as a hot spot, he or she may be required to self-quarantine on return. The CDC’s most recent guidance recommends self-quarantining for 14 days after a potential exposure or 10 days after a positive test.
Singer said that an employer’s travel advisory also might state, “As your employer, we are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace. During the COVID-19 pandemic, nonessential travel is discouraged.”
The advisory should add, she said, that if a worker intends to travel, the following guidelines, among others, should be followed:
- Avoid close contact with others—keep a distance of at least six feet.
- Clean hands often—washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Wear a face covering in public.
- Notify the employer immediately if you or a family member has been diagnosed with COVID-19.