Monday, November 3, 2014

Ohio considers paid leave for quarantined employees

As just-back-from-Sierra-Leone Kaci Kickox continues to fight efforts to bind her to a mandatory 21-day Ebola quarantine, states around the country continue to figure out how to deal with these very new issues.

Ohio (which was Ebola ground-zero only a few weeks ago) has entered the fray with H.B. 647. The bill would:

  • Provide paid leave to any employee unable to work because of a quarantine or placement in medical isolation.
  • Prohibit an employer from requiring the employee to use paid time off in lieu of the statutory paid leave.
  • Prohibit an employer from taking any adverse action against an employee who failed to report to work because of a quarantine or placement in isolation, or who has requested quarantine or isolation pay.
  • Provide for both administrative and judicial remedies for aggrieved employees.

The bill has only just been introduced, and has not yet even been assigned to a committee. If any action is taken on this bill, I will pass it along.

In the meantime, employers need to be flexible with employees who have potentially been exposed to Ebola or other dangerous infectious diseases. If you send the employee home, do it with pay. Otherwise, you are inviting legislative fixes to what should be common-sense issues.