Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Managing COVID-19 cases in the workplace is becoming more complex

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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Now that the isolation period has been reduced and testing centers are no longer available to ordinary people, managing potential cases of COVID-19 in the workplace is creating headaches. In an interview with dutyIn this article, experts talk about commitments and best practices for employees and employers to help them see things more clearly.

If the General Manager of the Guild of Human Resource Consultants could only give one piece of advice to employers, it would be to trust employees. “We no longer have the reference for the PCR test, which many employers demand. So, if someone says they have symptoms, you have to believe it,” explains Manon Poirier.

burden of proof

Employment law attorney Marianne Plamondon says that if there is reasonable doubt, the employer is still entitled to ask for corroborating evidence. Partner at Langlois Avocats cites a worker who struggles with frequent absenteeism as an example. In this case, the employee bears the burden of proving his illness.

Rapid screening tests can then be called to the rescue. Many companies have purchased them to distribute to their employees. However, they are not required to do so. It is up to the worker to get it or go to the doctor.

“Since public health experts said the rapid tests gave good information, it is difficult for an employer to dismiss them as evidence,” the attorney said.

Me Plamondon believes that many employers will not have the option of exercising certain control in the face of the proliferation of flu and cold symptoms, associated with symptoms of COVID-19.

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If employees say they are still experiencing symptoms after five days of rest, we shouldn’t particularly pressure them to go back to work, adds Manon-Poireer.

This is also one of the concerns of the Quebec Workers Union. “We fear that employers will try to enforce the law for a speedy return,” notes Daniel Boyer, president of the Central Federation. After five days, symptoms should subside. But it is very subjective. Will we return infected people who will infect others? “

The employer is responsible for providing a safe workplace, in accordance with the applicable sanitary rules, while the employee is responsible not to endanger his colleagues, the master recalls.I pear tree Obviously, we should encourage remote work when possible.

A certified HR consultant also suggests that companies support employees through this process, particularly by informing them of the benefits they are entitled to while they are on leave.

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2 days paid vacation

The law that respects labor standards requires an employer to give at least two days of paid vacation, but many companies offer more. There’s also the Canada Sickness Benefit for Economic Recovery, $500 a week, for which the federal government does not require supporting evidence, the advisor continues.

For those who must be absent for an extended period of time because they contracted COVID-19 at work, there are services provided by the Commission des normes, de l’énergie, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST). ). Regarding the evidence needed, the National Economic and Social Sciences Council “is currently analyzing with its various partners the best solutions that can be developed in the current context, taking into account the legal, social and health contexts.” “In the meantime, she calls for the cooperation of workers and employers so that everyone can show understanding and flexibility,” Antoine Leclerc Lucille, a public relations consultant, said by email.

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