Preparing for Quarantine

This is intended to address more serious situations (e.g., public health officials mandate quarantines of an entire city or parts of a city, or infections are so widespread that employees are afraid to come to work). As the CDC guidance indicates, the situation may change rapidly and there may not be much time to figure out these details in the event of a rapid spread of cases.

  • Determine which employees must work from home to facilitate business continuity (“core employees”).
    • This likely includes exempt, managerial employees, but it may encompass non-exempt, administrative employees who know how to get certain things done.
    • Make sure employees’ work-from-home capabilities are intact (internet connection, printer/scanner, laptop, etc.), and take steps now to ensure any necessary equipment is available to such employees.
  • Determine which employees would ideally augment the core employees.
    • This might include customer service, IT, and communications employees.
    • Make sure employees’ work-from-home capabilities are in place for the extent of the work they would need to do.
  • Plan now for the IT remote access (and security), conference call, and other technical capabilities needed for a dispersed workforce.
  • If your business involves delivery of physical goods, re-stocking of supplies, or services performed at another business location, coordinate with those businesses to determine the best approach to business continuity in the event of more widespread infections.
  • Consider how your business would be impacted by an illness-based shutdown or slowdown at your suppliers. You may want to stockpile certain components or other goods to be ready for such an event.
  • Determine how you will address pay for non-exempt employees who work remotely during a closure.
    • How will employees record their time when working remotely?
    • Practically, how can you enforce how much employees work?
  • Determine how you will address pay for all employees who do not work.
    • After exhaustion of any paid leave benefit, will non-exempt employees have any additional pay to help them in the event of a two-month closure?
    • Will exempt employees who perform no work be instructed not to perform work so they do not create arguable obligations of entitlement to pay for checking e-mails, making sporadic calls, etc.?
    • Are there any resources (e.g., paying for delivery of groceries) you want to make available to all employees during a business closure?