Coronavirus – Update 3/11/20

March 11, 2020

As we continue to monitor the local, national and worldwide incidence of the coronavirus and the illness it causes, COVID-19, all employees are asked to review the following workplace policies and guidance. It is likely this information will change as the situation evolves and more becomes known. Questions may be directed to the MS-IL Human Resources department

Most Actions to Take Now

  1. – All employees are urged to take basic prevention measures to avoid exposure to or infection by the virus causing COVID-19. 
  2. – Employees who have recently been in an area of high concern for COVID-19, which is being defined as a CDC Level 3 area, should contact the MS-IL Human Resources department, and self-isolate as per the CDC guidelines.

Workplace Policies (effective 3/11/2020)

MS-IL management representatives must not pressure others to come to work if they are ill or need to stay at home to care for ill dependents. On the other hand, if employees are well, they should not be pressured to stay away from work for reasons such as their ethnic or racial background, home address, having cared for a sick family member (without any indication of COVID-19) or recent travel to unaffected areas. As described above, there is a need to stay away from work because of caring for someone confirmed to have COVID-19.

Given MSIL’s  interest in maintaining a safe and healthy workplace for all, managers and supervisors (with the support and involvement of MS-IL Human Resources as needed) should ask employees who are exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness to go home and stay home until 24 hours after they are free of symptoms.

A “doctor’s note” or documentation of dependent care responsibilities will not be required from employees who cancel an assignment or miss work if they have symptoms of respiratory illness or have been confirmed with COVID-19. 

Employees may use up to 14 unpaid days until they are free of fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g., cough suppressants) without receiving a strike to be absent from work or cancel an existing assignment for the following reasons:

  • – A confirmed case of COVID-19
  • – Due to a respiratory illness
  • – To meet self-isolation or quarantine requirements
  • – For the active care of others because of disruptions relating to COVID-19
  • – Because the minor child of an employee attends a school or day care where that is closed due to illnesses and they have no other childcare arrangements.

MS-IL will review this threshold periodically as conditions change.

Well Employees:

Well employees are expected at work unless they have been:

  • – they have been in contact with or caring for someone who is ill with an ordinary respiratory illness (in which case, typical preventive measures are recommended for them as care givers);
  • – caring for someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, in which case they are required to self-isolate;
  • – in a CDC Level 3 area of concern;
  • – instructed to refrain from attending work by MS-IL or public health officials;
  • – Report that the school or day care where their child under 18 years attends is closed due to illnesses and they have no other childcare arrangements.

Sick Employees: Employees who have symptoms of respiratory illness must stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g., cough suppressants). A fever is defined as a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit taken by an oral thermometer. Those with concerns or questions about their illness or seeking advice about whether to come to work should contact the MS-IL Call Center or their Account Manager (This is different than completing the confidential health form, which is to self-report situations relating to COVID-19 to the MS-IL Human Resources team. 

Return to Work: In general, written medical clearance will not be required for return to work. (MS-IL clients with specific health and safety requirements, such as food services, may have different policies.) This is being done to avoid overtaxing health care resources.

Workers at Higher Risk: Employees who are at increased risk for complications from COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions are urged to consult their physician about steps they can take to protect their health. These may include requesting a temporary change in job location, hours, assignment or duties, or implementation of additional protective measures to reduce their exposure to others or chances of being infected. MS-IL will work with employees on a case by case bases to try to accommodate their requests. If an employee at risk for complications from COVID-19 and their physician agree that increased social distancing in the workplace is prudent, the employee should contact the MS-IL Human Resources team to formally request a temporary change. Human Resources will confidentially evaluate the request, explore alternatives, and attempt to appropriately address the employee’s health concerns while maintaining MS-IL and clients’ operations. Except for employees who formally request a change in job circumstances due to underlying health conditions, employees will generally not be reassigned to new duties, locations, or roles solely to address concerns about the potential for COVID-19 infection.

Potential Additional Policy Changes

If public health conditions worsen, MS-IL’s workplace policies may be further amended. This would be done to address the effects of more widespread illness or absences, more frequent needs for self-isolation or quarantine, disruption of care arrangements or MS-IL ‘s business priorities. All employees will be notified as necessary of such changes and should also check this page for update. 

MS-IL will work with each affected employee and attempt to return them to the assignment to which they were assigned previously; however, depending on business needs, clients’ requirements or other business necessities we cannot guarantee the availability of said assignment in which case, MSIL will take affirmative steps to attempt to find the affected employee a suitable and comparable assignment if one is available. Upon returning to work, employees should follow the Seeking Employment policy as outlined in the MSIL Contingent Employee Handbook.