Even as lockdowns return to contain rising case numbers across provinces, schools are still open. It can mean potential problems for employers like you.
That’s because children might be sent home from school without notice if someone in their class ‘bubble’ tests positive for COVID-19. And if that happens, your staff might need time away from work, too.
We asked our expert how employers should manage this tricky situation. Here’s what they said…
Our HR expert’s answer
If your employee’s child is sent home because someone in their ‘bubble’ has tested positive for COVID-19, then your employee doesn’t automatically need to self-isolate.
Unless they have symptoms or their child starts to develop symptoms, your employee would go to work as normal. If your employee or their child does develop symptoms, they’d need to self-isolate as per your provincial government guidance.
However, if the child has no symptoms, things become a little more complex. That’s because your employee might struggle to find suitable childcare arrangements under current physical distancing guidelines.
Most Canadian provinces have amended their employment standards legislation to add a leave of absence for COVID-19 related reasons. Workers who have kids, but no childcare support are legally entitled to take an unpaid but job-protected leave from work.
It is best to speak to your employee and evaluate your options. Though a COVID-19 related leave without pay is available to employees, it should be the last resort.
Of course, if your employees are already working from home, they could continue to do so for that two-week duration. However, if the nature of their work requires being present in the workplace, you could offer them alternative work that can be done remotely.
But if that’s not possible, you might consider letting your employee temporarily change their working hours. For example, they could work in the evenings or at weekends when their partner is at home to look after the children.
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