Fighting Coronavirus: Why it’s Important to Send Home a Sick Employee

As a company owner, manager, or HR professional, it’s never been more important than during the current coronavirus pandemic to implement precautions to ensure your workplace offers a safe and healthy environment.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently said Americans must continue to prepare for the spread of coronavirus after infections were discovered in several more countries.

Suggested methods for keeping the office healthy are to limit physical contact such as handshakes, ensure commonly touched items like doorknobs and elevator buttons are kept clean, providing hand sanitizer and posting reminders about washing hands.

Unfortunately, employees may come to work sick because they fear missing a day’s pay, don’t want to burden others by missing work, or because they have a project that they want to see finished. Managers may look the other way when workers come in sick – or even demand it – to avoid being short-staffed.

So, what happens when an employee is obviously sick, yet still comes to work?  The following three tips may help to stop these practices for the benefit of all.

1. Provide Sick Day Pay

Offering sick pay helps to ease the burden on an employee when they’re sick, making the decision to stay home much easier. While managers and white-collar workers are often offered sick pay, blue-collar, part-time or contract workers tend to suffer without sick pay. By offering all workers sick pay, a company may actually benefit their bottom line while protecting workers from infectious diseases.

2. Encourage Managers to Send Sick Employees Home

Managers may look the other way when an employee is coughing or sneezing – especially if sending that employee home will make the day more difficult. While this may be true in the short term, encouraging managers to send sick employees home and offering options such as calling in another employee or shifting the workload may help make it easier. Corporate leadership and HR managers should let supervisors know that sending a sick employee home is acceptable to ensure the overall health of the company and its employees.

3. Offer to Let Employees Work from Home

If the job is such that an employee can work from home to avoid falling behind or dealing with staffing issues, this may be a reasonable option. Working from home allows the employee to stay up to date with projects, without risking infecting other employees or customers. Unfortunately, a sick employee is still a sick employee, so productivity should not be expected to remain the same if this option is chosen.

A Final Word

If an employee is sick, it’s important to follow the above steps to address the issue and send them home.

As a proactive measure, instituting wellness programs and encouraging your workforce to take control over their health may benefit employees and the company by reducing the incidence of illness and the number of sick days. This can also increase productivity – making for a good ROI on any costs associated with starting a wellness program.

Lanmark Staffing provides over 40 years of combined human resources, recruiting, temporary placement, sales and management, and temp-to-hire services. Our team of local, experienced professionals can help you meet your hiring needs quickly and efficiently.


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