Infectious Outbreak in the Workplace Policy

The Select Group is dedicated to taking proactive steps to protect employees and sales associates in the event of an infectious disease outbreak. The Company’s goal during any such time periods is to operate effectively and ensure all essential services are continuously provided and for our employees and sales associates to be safe within the workplace.

The Company is committed to providing authoritative information about the nature and spread of infectious diseases, including symptoms and signs to watch for, as well as required steps to be taken in the event of an illness or outbreak. It is up to each of us to stay calm, work harder than normal, maintain a strong mindset, and make good decisions about our health and our business.

On November 17, 2020, public health recommendations have been updated to accommodate new scientific evidence, evolving epidemiology, and the need to simplify risk assessments. New recommendations are based on:

  • Growing evidence of transmission risk from infected people without symptoms (asymptomatic) or before the onset of recognized symptoms (presymptomatic);
  • Increased community transmission in many parts of the country;
  • A need to communicate effectively to the general public;
  • Continued focus on reducing transmission through social distancing and other personal prevention strategies.

Day-to-Day Operations

  • All offices will be open during normal business hours, however, in most cases, the doors should be locked.
  • If anyone in your family (including yourself) has COVID-19 or has been in contact with someone who does, stay home for a minimum of 3 days, notify your supervisor/Branch Leader and Human Resources, and obtain a COVID test. If your COVID results are negative, please notify your supervisor/Branch Leader and Human Resources, then you may return to work.
  • Staff will continue to report to work during normal office hours, but contingency plans are in place for some employees to work remotely, if approved and necessary.
  • Additional precautions will be taken by all parties during in-person meetings (the wearing of face masks, social distancing, extra cleaning of touched surfaces, handwashing and/or use of hand sanitizer).
  • Web-based meetings will be scheduled in lieu of in-person meetings in most situations.
  • Based upon recent CDC guidelines and the Governors’ mandate, face masks are to be worn when entering our offices, when working in public areas (reception area, conference rooms, hallways), and when passing through public areas.
  • Clients are to wear masks during their in-office visits. Each office has received a supply of disposable face masks to provide to clients and guests who enter the office unprepared.

Preventing the Spread of Infection in the Workplace

The Company will ensure a clean workplace, including the regular cleaning of objects and areas that are frequently used, such as bathrooms, break rooms, conference rooms, door handles, railing, copiers, etc. Considerations will be made to monitor and coordinate events around an infectious disease outbreak, including cancellation of such events, as well as to create work rules which could be implemented to promote safety through infection control.

We ask all employees and agents to cooperate in taking steps to reduce the transmission of infectious disease in the workplace. The best strategy remains the most obvious—frequent hand washing with warm, soapy water; covering your mouth whenever you sneeze or cough; discarding used tissues in wastebaskets; social distancing; and wearing face masks. We will also install alcohol-based hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes throughout the workplace and in common areas.

Unless otherwise notified, our normal attendance and leave policies will remain in place. Individuals who believe they may face particular challenges reporting to work during an infectious disease outbreak should take steps to develop any necessary contingency plans. For example, employees might want to arrange for alternative sources of childcare during school closures and/or speak with supervisors about the potential to work on an alternative work schedule.

Food in the Workplace

  • No food will be provided during any type of meeting or gathering.
  • Individuals may bring their own food which may not be shared.
  • Do not bring food into the office to share, i.e., donuts, home baked goods, etc.
  • No food is to be left out on the kitchen table or elsewhere in the office.
  • Remove candy bowls and similar snack item containers from reception areas and elsewhere within the office.

Do not share food or eating utensils in the office. Place used cups, plates and silverware in the kitchen dishwasher after use. Do not leave such items in the sink or on counter tops. Use disposable items when available.

Limiting Travel

All nonessential business travel should be avoided. Employees who travel as an essential part of their job should consult with management on appropriate actions. All work-related travel is limited to essential only as approved by the management.

Personal travel, both domestic and international, should also be avoided until further notice. If you have already booked travel, we recommend you cancel the travel and seek reimbursement or travel vouchers.

We understand employees and agents may be traveling to gather with family and friends for the holidays and special events. The CDC and State Health Officers are discouraging travel and gathering with individuals who do not reside within the same household. The practices of maintaining social distancing, frequent handwashing and mask-wearing is even more important to avoid exposure and prevent the potential transmission of COVID-19 to others upon your return home and the resumption of work activities.

Upon return from family gatherings and travel events, it is vital to monitor yourself and family members for symptoms of the infectious disease. If symptoms develop, or you become aware of a person’s illness following you were in close contact with, the company’s guidelines including reporting the incident to your supervisor/Branch Leader and Human Resources, to remain at home under self-quarantine until you are able to obtain a medical evaluation and or COVID test to determine whether you are ill due to the infectious disease. Those receiving a positive COVID test result are to report the results to your supervisor/Branch Leader and Human Resources as soon as practical and self-quarantine for not less than 14 days before returning to the workplace.

Employees will be required to use accrued vacation and/or paid sick time as applicable until exhausted during their period of absence. If Federal and/or State leaves of absence become available as a result of an infectious disease outbreak, employees may request an applicable leave of absence with all requests subject to management approval.

Employees should avoid crowded public spaces when possible. Alternative scheduling options may be provided for employees on a case-by-case basis. Contact human resources for more information.

Telework for Employees

Telework requests from employees will be handled on a case-by-case basis. While not all positions will be eligible, all requests for temporary telework should be submitted to your manager and Human Resources for consideration.

If you are approved to work from home, please be prepared to work to the extent you are able so the workflow keeps moving. Daily task lists and an account of hours worked (including meal breaks) are to be submitted at the end of each day to Human Resources while an employee continues to work remotely.

  • Be available by phone
  • Be prepared to attend web-based meetings, as needed
  • Have a printer available with adequate paper and ink
  • Be prepared to receive courier deliveries, as needed

Face Masks or Face Coverings

The use of face coverings by everyone can limit the release of infected droplets when talking, coughing and/or sneezing. The California and Nevada Depts. of Public Health mandate that face coverings be worn state-wide in the circumstances and with the exceptions outlined below. It does not substitute for existing guidance about social distancing and handwashing.

People must wear face coverings when they are in the high-risk situations listed below:

  • Inside or, or in line to enter, any indoor public space;
  • Obtaining services from the healthcare sector;
  • Waiting for or riding on public transportation or paratransit or while in a taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle;
  • Engaging in work, whether at the workplace or performing work off-site, when:
    • Interacting in-person with any member of the public;
    • Working in a space visited by members of the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time;
    • Working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others;
    • Working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities;
    • In any room or enclosed area where other people (except for members of the person’s own household or residence) are present when unable to physically distance.
  • While outdoors in public spaces when maintaining a minimum physical distance of 6 feet from persons who are not members of the same household or residence is not feasible.

During peak incidents of infectious disease outbreaks, mask wearing at all times within our offices may become a requirement. This action will be implemented in the best interest of the Select Group, its agents and employees.

Exemptions to this mandate include: children under the age of 2 years; persons with a medical condition, mental health condition or disability which prevents the wearing of a face covering; persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication; and eating or drinking in a restaurant provided they are able to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet away from persons who are not members of the same household or residence.

Each office should consider the layout and location of their public spaces and take the necessary precautions to ensure the wearing of masks by all parties within our Select Group offices when in-person contact occurs.

Staying Home When Ill

Many times, with the best of intentions, employees report to work even though they feel ill. We provide paid time off (vacation and/or sick time (as applicable) to compensate employees who are unable to work due to illness.

During an infectious disease outbreak, it is critical that employees DO NOT report to work while they are ill and/or experiencing the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, diarrhea, and fatigue,. In the case of coronavirus, the symptoms include fever, cough, loss of taste or smell, shortness of breath and/or respiratory problems or distress. Employees are to advise their supervisor of their illness as soon as possible.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people with an infectious illness, such as the flu, remain at home until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever (100 degrees F or 37.8 degrees C) or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. Employees or agents who are experiencing symptoms, who come into direct contact with someone who is experiencing symptoms and/or has been diagnosed with coronavirus, are to obtain a COVID test in not less than seven (7) days from the date of exposure and self-quarantine until a negative test result is received (up to a minimum of 14 days) to protect everyone within the workplace. Self-quarantine is the recommended course of action by the CDC.

Employees who report to work ill will be sent home in accordance with these health guidelines.

Wage Replacement Options

If an employee is experiencing symptoms or has been exposed to an infected person and is requested to stay home, the Company will review and consider available Leave Policies (both federal and state) as well as options to offer wage replacement during the employee’s absence. Likewise, if a parent must stay home to care for a sick child, similar considerations will be available. The use of accrued paid vacation and/or sick time must be exhausted prior to any additional wage replacement considerations. Employees are requested to contact Human Resources to discuss available options. Requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Unemployment Insurance benefits are available for employees based on the following guidelines:

  • Employee work hours are reduced due to the quarantine (including furloughs);
  • Employees are subject to a quarantine required by a medical professional or state or local health officer;
  • The school of an employee’s child shuts down and necessitating the employee to miss work in order to care for a child who is not ill

Requests for Medical Information and/or Documentation

If you are out sick or show symptoms of being ill, it may become necessary to request information from you and/or your health care provider. In general, we would request medical information to confirm your need to be absent, to show whether and how an absence relates to the infectious disease, and to know that it is appropriate for you to return to work. As always, we expect and appreciate your cooperation if and when medical information is sought.

Confidentiality of Medical Information

Our policy is to treat all medical information as a confidential medical record. In furtherance of this policy, any disclosure of medical information is in limited circumstances with supervisors, managers, first aid and safety personnel, and government officials as required by law. We have an obligation to maintain strict confidentiality regarding the identity of infected workers which are based upon HIPAA laws and are practiced to protect individuals from harassment, stigmatization, or discrimination.

Social Distancing Guidelines for Workplace Infectious Disease Outbreaks

In the event of an infectious disease outbreak, the Company may implement these social distancing guidelines to minimize the spread of the disease within our offices.

During the workday, employees are requested to:

  1. Avoid meeting people face-to-face. Employees are encouraged to use the telephone, online conferencing, email or instant messaging to conduct business as much as possible, even when participants are in the same building.
  2. If a face-to-face meeting is unavoidable, wear a face mask, minimize the meeting time, choose a large meeting room and sit at least 6 feet from each other if possible; avoid person-to-person contact such as shaking hands.
  3. Avoid any unnecessary travel and cancel or postpone nonessential meetings, gatherings, workshops and training sessions.
  4. Do not congregate in work rooms, pantries, copier rooms or other areas where people commonly socialize.
  5. Bring a lunch and eat at your desk or away from others (avoid lunchrooms and crowded restaurants).
  6. Encourage members and others to request information and orders via phone and email in order to minimize person-to-person contact. Have the orders, materials and information ready for fast pick-up or delivery.

In Summary, Human Resources will provide official communications as updates and recommended precautions pertaining to infectious illnesses are available from Federal, State or local agencies. Employees are encouraged to contact Human Resources with questions, to report an incident of exposure, to inquire about available leave policies and to inquire about wage replacement.

As the incidents of COVID and other infectious disease remain prevalent locally, at the State level, nationally and/or internationally, this policy will be updated to provide the most up-to-date information which will be communicated in writing to all members of The Select Group.

We understand the public is weary of the lengthy duration of the coronavirus pandemic and the associated restrictions. However, this is not the time to become laxed in the recommended safety protocols. We all need to be diligent in our efforts to combat and eradicate the coronavirus.

As active members of The Select Group, participation and cooperation with Company guidelines and protocols will be expected.

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