By Paul Cherner
The Centers for Disease Control and prevention (”CDC”) has just issued a report indicating that in the past six months 22 million Americans have become sick with the H1N1 influenza virus (a/k/a the “swine flu”), of which 4,000 have died. As this pandemic shows no signs of abating, employers are faced with many legal issues in addition to being concerned about the health and safety of their workers, customers and clients, while at the same time attempting to determine how best to carry on their businesses under these circumstances.
An excellent reference source for most questions pertaining to this pandemic is the federal government’s website http://www.flu.gov., which contains very useful and specific information, as well as links to issues of specific concern to various businesses.
The U.S. Department of Labor has just issued two sets of questions and answers concerning the impact of the Fair Labor Standards Act (”FLSA”) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (”FMLA”) on issues pertaining to employees absences from work and payment to employees who are directly or indirectly affected by the H1N1 flu virus. Additional guidance is provided by the EEOC with respect to the impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act (”ADA”) on this pandemic situation.
As this situation has evolved, the federal government has continued to issue additional information and guidelines, some of which modified prior guidance. Accordindly, continued monitoring of the main website - www.flu.gov is advised.
Paul Cherner is a labor and employment attorney in Chicago, IL. Visit his blog at http://hrcounselblog.com