COVID safety criteria have been modified due to the increased prominence and transmission rates of the COVID Delta and Omicron variants. Federal personnel, for example, must be vaccinated and tested for COVID every two weeks. Federal employees must also follow other workplace safety rules.
Increased testing in workplaces, however, raises many questions. For example, if employees can choose between frequent testing and immunization, should employers fund the costs? Do nonexempt employees have to be compensated for time spent testing? Here are some things to bear in mind while creating testing policies and procedures for employees.
Examine the Present Policies and Laws
Private-sector employers (and employees with separate health insurance) should verify with their insurance providers to see if COVID testing is covered. Regular job-related testing is not covered by insurance; thus, employers must pay for it if no other option exists. Federal anti-discrimination statutes allow immunization and COVID testing regulations that are implemented fairly and allow for reasonable changes.
The EEOC’s recommendations do not clearly state that employers must pay for COVID assessments, though it is probable that they will. The Americans with Disabilities Act enables employers to hire those who “cause no direct threat to others’ health or safety.” The EEOC has characterized the COVID outbreak as a direct danger. According to pre-pandemic FDA regulations, when a company directs an employee to see a doctor of their choice, the employer is responsible for all associated costs.
Before implementing a COVID testing policy, businesses should check state laws and show dedication to following the law. Pre-COVID legislation in a few jurisdictions requires companies to cover or reimburse employees for mandated medical exams. Pre-COVID regulations in numerous jurisdictions compel employers to pay for mandatory medical exams. In some places, employers must compensate employees for all business-related expenses.
Consider Testing During Business Hours
Non-exempt employees who undergo testing throughout the workweek must be compensated for their time. The time spent waiting for and finding medical attention at an employer’s direction should be compensated. Was there a time when the corporation required employees to take the test before working? According to the Department of Labor, federal law may oblige employers to compensate employees for time spent getting tested.
Employers must pay employees for all hours worked to comply with the law. According to the Department of Labor, to accomplish their jobs safely and effectively throughout the outbreak, many employees may be entitled to compensation.
When and How Will Testing Occur?
Employees may be adequately reimbursed for their testing time and money if their employer permits them to test whenever and wherever they wish. If testing is done on-site, the employer can verify that it is done accurately, on schedule, and consistently. These tests may be administered at the start or end of an employee’s shift or by a testing provider who visits the workplace.
Employers can also build a testing facility near the workplace and only test there to stay compliant. Employees will save time and effort traveling vast distances to take an exam and time receiving a test while working. Making it easy for employees to get tested and compensating them for their time is the best practice employers can adopt.