The holiday season has arrived, and so has flu season. In addition to the sound of holiday music, offices may soon experience the sound of coughing and sneezing. Certain states, including California, have passed laws allowing for paid sick leave. There are many new rules that employers must follow under the new law. These rules, when properly applied, may help prevent the flu from being a widespread workplace illness.
One advantage to paid sick leave is that it may encourage workers to stay home if they are ill. Under the new law, employers cannot require that an employee find someone to cover a shift before granting a sick day. Employers may send an employee home if they are symptomatic. This is largely dependent on the industry. For example, restaurants may not want employees sneezing or coughing around food.
There are limits on what employers can do. Care must be taken to avoid the appearance of any kind of medical examination. An employer cannot take a person's temperature, require a person to take a flu shot or ask about other illnesses that may make put them at a higher risk for flu complications. An employer can encourage employees to work from home, encourage them to get a flu shot or ask if they are experiencing flu symptoms.
There may be some confusion around the paid sick time law in relation to a workplace illness such as the flu. If a person in California has questions regarding one's rights under the law, seeking answers from an experienced workers' compensation attorney may put one's mind at rest as a new flu season begins. Knowing the rules may relieve some of the stress that could contribute to the likelihood of one contracting the flu virus.