Workplaces have updated their HR policies and created new protocols to meet the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. While you must know what to do when a worker tests positive for COVID-19, it’s also important to have a system in place for staff getting back to work after they make a full recovery.
Before the employee returns to work
Make sure they isolate for the required number of days
Everyone who experiences COVID-19 symptoms has to be isolated for 14 days from the onset of symptoms. If the symptoms improve after 14 days, they no longer need to isolate.
It is best to follow the guidelines set by the public health authority in your province and find out the exact number of days to isolate. For example, in Ontario, one must isolate for at least 14 days from the onset of symptoms. You can stop isolating if your symptoms improve and you no longer have fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
In Alberta and British Columbia, one must isolate for at least 10 days from the start of symptoms, or until symptoms resolve, whichever takes longer. But if you tested negative but have symptoms or were a close contact of a confirmed case then you must isolate for 14 days.
Ask for medical clearance
Request all employees returning to work after recovering from COVID-19 to get medical clearance. The note from their physician should certify that the employee is no longer exhibiting symptoms, and is fit to return to work. Speak to your employee and find out if they have any COVID-19 related health issues that you should know of or make accommodations for.
Bring the employee up-to-date on the health and safety measures
Make sure the employee undergoes health and safety orientation before rejoining work. Remind them to:
- Continue observing social distancing in the workplace.
- Wash their hands regularly and follow hygiene guidelines when coughing or sneezing.
- Sanitize workspaces and commonly used shared surfaces.
Who shouldn’t return to work?
Employees who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. Those who have been in close contact with a person suspected to have COVID-19 must also isolate.
Employees who have pre-existing medical conditions or a weak immune system fall under the high-risk category. Vulnerable employees also include those of advanced years who may get severely ill if exposed to COVID-19. All such high-risk employees should continue to work from home. You can read our blog on how to support high-risk employees to find out more.
Want to know your employer obligations surrounding COVID-19 health and safety?
For advice on health and safety policies during the pandemic, call an expert today: 1 (833) 247-3652.