[NSR] - Funerals and COVID
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Molto Verboso
2013 GTS300ie
Joined: 12 Dec 2017
Posts: 1130
Location: Pretoria, South Africa
Fri Jan 15, 2021 10:39 am quote
An interesting moral dilemma...

An employee applies for leave to attend the funeral of an immediate family member. Employer grants the leave on humanitarian grounds.

Before the employee returns, the employer realises that funerals are known "super-spreader" events (particularly in Africa) with a lot of cultural practices that compromise the social distancing, handwashing and mask-wearing protocols.

When the employee returns, the employer tells the employee not to return to work and to isolate for 10 days to prevent a possible 10-day closure of the entire workplace of over 100 workers in the event of a employee COVID positive test result.

The moral dilemma:
Should the employer pay the employee for the period of isolation as part of their statutory sick leave allocation?
Should the employer require a COVID positive test result before paying?
If COVID negative, can the employer deduct the isolation days from the employee's statutory annual leave allocation?
As the employee was 'locked out' should the employer pay anyway?

I expect very different answers from US respondents compared to other countries where worker rights are firmly legislated...

Last edited by Fudmucker on Fri Jan 15, 2021 9:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
2010 ThunderFly 190, 2008 250 GTS
Joined: 29 Apr 2011
Posts: 2794
Location: Springboro, OH
Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:14 am quote
From my perspective...

If the employer is telling the employee to quarantine, I feel the employee should be paid out as sick time.

I also think a Covid test should be required prior to returning to the workplace, but the results should not dictate any outcome regarding pay or time off.

If there is a positive result, employee should stay home using paid sick time or vacation time until a negative test result is obtained. If sick time and vacation time are exhausted prior to the employee getting a negative test result, then any remaining time away from work is unpaid and their position and performance evaluation cannot be impacted.

The employer has an obligation to their other employees and their company. The employee has an obligation to get and stay healthy and be fit to come to work.
1980 P200E , 2005 Stella 177
Joined: 20 Jul 2018
Posts: 2573
Location: Staten Island, NY
Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:21 am quote
Pay the employee. Better yet, let them somehow work remotely and if their job isn't that type of job, find some clerical or educational task they may be able to help with or do while at home. Not a fan of charging the person for vacation time due to mandatory quarantine, or charging them paid sick leave days, but I can understand deducting paid sick leave. I realize corporations and companies are not in business by giving money away for nothing, especially in USA, but if this is first time and employer did not make these decisions known prior to telling them yes they can take time off for funeral then its on them to pay the person while requiring them to stay home.

Now if the employee requested it a second time after that, then deducting paid sick time is more warranted (while I would do my best to prevent penalizing the employee I understand small businesses can't afford these policies repeatedly over long periods of time), and if it becomes a regular event then company is well within rights to discuss with the employee any financial restraints be it vacation/sick time or lack of pay for above and beyond common decency.

As to government support to businesses either through tax deductions or outright financial support.. no clue as I don't run a business. I will say that my company has been exceedingly admirable throughout this whole pandemic by continuing to pay every employee through the worst of it when our main source of business was cancelled due to the start of the pandemic. All previously scheduled shifts for a whole month were paid even though no one worked for that month. Granted this is a major broadcast network with massive budgets that can kinda sustain this type of HR policy more so than small businesses, but I would expect they are not entirely losing out on that money. Almost guaranteed they are writing all those losses off on taxes for last year, if not already included in the SBA payroll loans given out to businesses. Still, kinda shocking that a major US corporation took these generous steps when the default corporate attitude in the US is to screw the little guy and save as much for the big guys/investors.

My company also mandated weekly covid testing to work in the building once they started bringing people back in, and does not allow employees to commute through public transporation, instead reimburses for uber both commutes. This testing is provided by the company to all employees who are scheduled in the buildings free of cost. These are two massive costs the employer is eating.. again almost guaranteed they are writing that stuff off on taxes as business losses and probably building quite a nest egg of low to no corporate taxes for years to follow as a result of the losses.
Molto Verboso
2013 Vespa 300 Super, 2007 Burgman 400
Joined: 30 Mar 2014
Posts: 1921
Location: Minneapolis USA
Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:59 am quote
Covid19 - Employee Benefits

Best to you sir.

Most employers are allowing full benefits (wages/medical even for tests)
for either contracting Covid or having to isolate after possible exposure here in the USA.

Even my daughters part-time Barista job (Coffee Shop) is allowed 80 hours
of paid Covid absence for either testing positive or self acknowledged exposure.

Note: Human nature operating - there is a host of people taking unnecessary advantage of these Covid benefits.

1. In my daughters apartment building, six of her single friends have
been on extended unemployment for nine plus months (Covid Authorized)
making more than they did working. Note: they are all healthy and have jobs to go back to.

2. In the same apartment building, four other renters on her floor have not
paid rent because Landlords can not evict by State Law passed for the Pandemic.

On balance, many are suffering financially and many of these programs do provide relief. Like many well intended social programs, there is a good measure of crooked crap going on.

Fud, that is the news from Lake Wobegon Minnesota,

Bob Copeland

Lake Wobegon Where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.

My best to South Africa

S150, Beo 500ie
Joined: 14 Aug 2019
Posts: 441
Location: Bermuda
Fri Jan 15, 2021 12:14 pm quote
Whether the employee became sick by recklessly/unwittingly attending a superspreader event, or by going about their normal day, is not always ascertainable by the employer - and doesn't matter to the other employees.

I don't think this is much of a moral dilemma. I think it's a business question. What kind of behavior does the company want to incentivize from its employees?

If it places too much burden on an employee who becomes sick, or who might become sick, the incentive is to not disclose anything to the employer, behave normally, and potentially spread the sickness within the workplace.

That doesn't need to happen too often before the other employees are incapacitated or simply refuse to come into work.

Many employers have been quite accommodating to sick employees. Yes, some will take advantage of it. But are they the best employees under "normal" conditions? Seems unlikely.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Lx 50 4T (totaled), GTS 250, S 150 (Missing in KS), Something Chinese, GT 200 (sold)
Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 9111
Location: KS USA
Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:17 pm quote
That's easy. The employer should require negative test before returning to work. My physical therapist had covid-19 and he quarantine and return to work after a negative test.
Molto Verboso
2013 GTS300ie
Joined: 12 Dec 2017
Posts: 1130
Location: Pretoria, South Africa
Fri Jan 15, 2021 5:34 pm quote
Thank you all for your inputs.

The moral dilemma is whether the employer should REFUSE the application for leave to attend a funeral on the basis of the business implications of a returning infected person and the legal precedents of either a denial or an approval

Abuse of sick leave is rife here at the moment with all manner of people calling in sick, claiming to be Covid positive and wanting 10 days paid sick leave.

I am so glad I am not an employer right now!
Veni, Vidi, Posti
LX190, Primavera
Joined: 12 Oct 2007
Posts: 6836
Location: New Zealand
Fri Jan 15, 2021 6:27 pm quote
One of my workers wanted to holiday overseas and then expected to be paid while in the two week quarantine coming back. Nope.

They are welcome to go but can take annual leave or leave without pay for the quarantine.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
300CC Italian scooter, 750CC Russian Sidecar,1650CC Bavarian ADV Tourer.
Joined: 21 May 2017
Posts: 7877
Location: The Six
Fri Jan 15, 2021 7:22 pm quote
znomit wrote:
One of my workers wanted to holiday overseas and then expected to be paid while in the two week quarantine coming back. Nope.

They are welcome to go but can take annual leave or leave without pay for the quarantine.
Makes sense.

Testing is not bullet proof , you can test false positive as well as false negative. A 2 week quarantine is the most prudent method provided they actually adhere to it. If they want to go away for a holiday then they should be aware of the quarantine on the way back in.
BV 350
Joined: 22 Nov 2016
Posts: 820
Location: Nebraska
Sat Jan 16, 2021 1:44 am quote
Most employers provide a limited number of days of sick leave.

Presumably any quarantine days would come from that allocation. I'd make that clear to the employee in advance, and let them make the choice. Or give them the option, if possible, of working remotely during the time off.

In my experience, employees either accumulate a crapload of sick days, up to the max allowed, or have very few, abusing the privilege for every cold and sniffle. Either way, give the employee a choice. In the latter case, effectively, unpaid leave. If vacation days are accrued, might be another option.

Of the people I know who have had covid, an alarming number have tested negative, at least initially, when they were clearly infected and symptomatic. So I'd insist on the quarantine period, regardless of test results.

Still unclear whether employers will be liable if an employee becomes infected through unsafe business practices. And long-terms effects of infection are still undetermined. If the business is insured, I'd check with the insurer to see what they recommend, and what they are willing to cover. CYA.
S150, Cosa LX200, DL1000V
Joined: 02 Jan 2010
Posts: 504
Location: Sunny South West UK
Sat Jan 16, 2021 3:51 am quote
Employer should allow paid leave.
It's a funeral, not a party the guy wants to go to. I'm sure said guy would rather have no funeral to attend...
People higher up the business chain of command have an awful lot to answer for in the current state of affairs. Protect each other's lives, get the virus properly under control, and only then worry about elevating business needs.
It's instructive that the nations that got this right first time haven't taken the hit to their economies that the more chaotic governments have caused.

Last edited by VesperGeezer on Sat Jan 16, 2021 6:27 am; edited 1 time in total
Joined: 29 Apr 2018
Posts: 760

Sat Jan 16, 2021 5:22 am quote
Where I live in Ohio unless you are having a medical procedure done or have symptoms you cannot get tested.
Molto Verboso
2013 Vespa 300 Super, 2007 Burgman 400
Joined: 30 Mar 2014
Posts: 1921
Location: Minneapolis USA
Fri Jan 22, 2021 11:55 am quote
Covid Liability and Testing Availability

Here is the USA, employers are careful to follow Covid Safety procedures - but there is no real liability for passing Covid. Most people could not tell specifically who they caught it from. There has also been legistation State by State to
limit liability. Despite this, I do live in the land of everyone suing everyone for everything.

Zigzagguzzi, It would be interesting to know if your area has caught up on the availability of testing. Here in Minnesota you can get tested easily. If you want to spend some money you can get instant results. My daughter works in a coffee shop She has been tested 7 times. Good luck to you.

Bob Copeland
Veni, Vidi, Posti
LX190, Primavera
Joined: 12 Oct 2007
Posts: 6836
Location: New Zealand
Fri Jan 22, 2021 1:49 pm quote
If attendance at a funeral gave you two paid weeks off work all funerals would need to be held in stadiums to handle the crowds.

You’re still having funerals?
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