In recent weeks, the federal government and several states have declared a public health emergency in response to increases in monkeypox cases. As a result, employers may have questions about the impact of this public health emergency on the workplace.
Below is additional insight for employers to consider regarding how this public health emergency may impact the workplace.
Q: Where can employers find information on the symptoms of monkeypox and how it is transmitted?
A: Employers should review the latest information provided by their local health authorities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Links to the latest CDC information can be found below:
Q: Should employers send a communication about monkeypox to employees?
A: Employers may want to send a communication to their employees regarding this public health emergency to keep their workforce informed. Before doing so, employers should consider the work environment and whether communication with employees is needed at that time. If communication is deemed necessary, you should refer directly to guidance provided by your local health authorities as well as the CDC for the most current information on the public health emergency.
Q: How long should an employee stay home if they contract the monkeypox virus?
A: Employers should review the latest guidance provided by local health authorities and the CDC. According to the CDC, if an employee contracts the monkeypox virus, they should remain in isolation at home for the duration of the illness, which typically lasts two to four weeks.
Q: If an employee contracts the monkeypox virus, are employers required to provide paid leave during the recovery period?
A: Some states and local jurisdictions have paid sick leave laws and/or public health emergency leave laws that may be triggered by monkeypox. Check your state and local laws for details. If your state or local region does not currently have these requirements, employers should consider remaining consistent with their current leave of absence or sick leave policies.
Note: Employees may be entitled to unpaid leave under some federal, state and local leave laws. Under federal and/or state laws, employees may also be entitled to reasonable accommodations if they have a disability.
Q: Have the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Occupation Safety and Health Administration released guidance on the monkeypox virus?
A: At this time, the EEOC and OSHA haven't released guidance specific to the monkeypox virus.
- Conduct an assessment of the risk of transmission in your workplace and take the appropriate steps to address it.
- Watch for potential developments from the CDC, OSHA, EEOC, and state and local health departments and adjust your response accordingly.