The important role employers play in keeping our community healthy

July 28, 2020

Original content provided by the High Country Human Resource Association (HCHRA). 

Many employees do not know where to turn for accurate information. Research is showing that employees are looking to their employer as a trusted source for information. We need your help with communicating to your employees.

Please join us for the July 31, 2020 webinar: COVID Updates & CO Healthy Families and Workplace Act presented by Eagle County Director of Public Health, Heath Harmon and Employment Attorney, Dean Harris. However, until then, the High Country Human Resource Association (HCHRA) has pulled together an Employers Toolkit (English) and Employers Toolkit (Spanish) which include information and resources on each of these topics for your reference and use.  

Currently, there is an increase in the spread of COVID-19 in Eagle County and the Roaring Fork Valley which is a cause for concern. Local county health departments continues to conduct investigations with those who have tested positive, and investigators are finding a few areas where employers can help educate and influence their employees.

Decreasing COVID-19 exposures in the workplace

These actions will help protect your employees while at work and also help influence and normalize these actions when you employees are not at work.

  • Implement, communicate and support policies to help protect employees.
  • Workplace policies should be based on adhering to the 5 Commitments of Containment.
  • Employee should self-screen for symptoms daily prior to going to work. This needs to be included in the business’s COVID Safety Plan (required in Eagle, Pitkin and Garfield counties) and shared with all employees.
  • Have flexible policies for remote working when possible.

Paid Sick Leave associated with COVID-19

Many employees do not understand how paid sick leave works, especially the new state and federal requirements associated with COVID-19. It is critical that employers require employees to stay home when they are sick, that employees understand paid sick leave benefits they are eligible for and that employers provide them required paid sick leave as applicable.  

  • Paid sick leave policies should be regularly communicated to employees.
  • Employers should be familiar with and provide Federal and/or Colorado State required sick paid leave associated with COVID-19
  • Employees required to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19 should receive documentation that can be provided to an employer. 

Keeping people home when they are sick and paying them will help to slow the spread of COVID-19

Promote Precautions for Carpooling and On-the-job Employee Transportation

Although healthy for the environment, carpooling can increase the risks of exposure to COVID-19. If a business requires transportation as part of an employee’s job, there are specific requirements that must be followed:

  • If employees carpool to/from work, the requirements can be communicated as precautions to help further protect your employees

  • Passengers should self monitor for symptoms and if sick, should stay home and not carpool or rideshare. 

  • The number of passengers must be limited to 50% of a vehicle’s occupancy, increasing the distance between passengers to the largest extent possible.

  • Passengers must use hand sanitizer upon entering the vehicle. 

  • Windows should remain open and/or ventilation will need to be increased.

  • Disinfect high-touch surfaces daily.

Healthier Fall and Beyond

As we transition into fall and the traditional cold and flu season, employers should consider the different health messages provided to employees, encouraging them to stay healthy.  

  • For example: good health is supported by good nutrition, good sleeping habits, exercise, and flu shots. These are all messages you can begin to develop and provide to help influence employees to stay healthy this fall.  

  • Continue to remind employees of the importance of following the 5 Commitments of Containment.

Employer Take Aways

Here’s how employers can help inform staff and help slow the spread of COVID: 

  • Keep up to date on and understand COVID diseases trends and the impacts on the workforce and business operations.

  • Understand, communicate and reinforce the importance of practicing the 5 Commitments of Containment at work and beyond.

  • Implement and reinforce social distancing protocols and safety practices in the workplace.

  • Require employees to stay home when sick, communicate and reinforce the importance of staying home when sick and ensure an understanding of required paid sick leave benefits.

  • Understand, communicate, and follow quarantine and isolation guidance established by the local county public health department.