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Managing human resources through the pandemic

What an employer needs to know when an employee is infected with coronavirus?

By Katarzyna Błażejewska, project manager, HR services & payroll, Mazars in Poland
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The coronavirus pandemic persists. More and more people are getting infected with SARS-CoV-2 every day. What actions should be taken by the employer if one of the employees contracts the disease?

Government websites provide general information on measures to be taken by the employer in order to minimise the spread of the coronavirus in the workplace as well as information on the proceeding in case of the disease. Below you will find the main recommendations on actions to take when an employee gets infected with coronavirus. 

General guidelines

It is recommended that the employer has procedures in place should an employee appears to have symptoms of Covid-19. How should you proceed when an employee shows typical symptoms of coronavirus infection or develops a confirmed disease in the workplace?

The employee should be instructed not to come to work but stay at home and consult a general practice doctor in the event of alarming symptoms. The employees should also be required to immediately inform their supervisor when they develop Covid-19 symptoms, when they become ill or when they have had exposure to a sick person, and there is a high probability that they also contracted the infection.

A sick employee who appears to have typical symptoms of coronavirus and comes to work, must be separated from other employees as soon as possible and sent home by means of individual transport, preferably by private car, with a recommendation to contact a healthcare provider.    

Further procedures

In further proceedings it is recommended to:

  • Prepare a list of employees, clients and other people who have had exposure to the sick employee

  • Immediately notify the relevant district sanitary and epidemiological station about the situation, following the instructions and orders issued

  • Identify the area where the infected employee stayed and moved around, disinfect all rooms, tools and the employee’s workstation; also provide relevant information to the facilities manager

  • Inform other employees about the situation however without disclosing the personal data of the infected employee

  • People who have been in direct contact with the sick employee should start a 10-day quarantine before receiving official information from state authorities on being quarantined

  • It is advisable to assign remote work to other employees if possible, until receiving appropriate instructions from sanitary services, although employees who have not had direct exposure to the infected person may still work in the workplace

  • Provide employees with information on measures taken to restore and maintain safe and healthy working conditions.

The employers should remember to prevent discrimination in all actions taken.

Although the coronavirus has been present for several months now, it continues to be a increasing challenge for the employers and their employees as numbers of new cases surge. It seems that cooperation of both parties is necessary to overcome the pandemic. Appropriate prevention, discipline and adherence to recommendations contribute to ensuring common safety of the people employed in a given workplace and of the whole humankind.

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