Human resources advice for care providers amid COVID-19

In light of the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, BC Care Providers Association is working to provide members with relevant labour relations advice to help them manage their workforce.

Care providers are encouraged to review and rely on information, recommendations and directions from the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), and their regional health authority. Continue to work with your union (if applicable) to implement labour practices consistent with your collective agreement(s). Care providers under any of the Master Collective agreements are recommended to defer to labour relations advice from HEABC.

Prevention

Employers should review internal illness-prevention policies and procedures in light of COVID-19, and take active steps to improve measures where possible. These may include:

  • Promoting hand hygiene practices for employees, volunteers, patients and visitors.
  • Making available appropriate personal protective equipment.
  • Posting appropriate signage for employees, patients, and visitors regarding hand. hygiene, location of personal protective equipment, proper cough/sneeze etiquette, etc.
  • Ensuring that employees with flu-like symptoms do not come to work.
  • Reminding employees to continue to self-monitor for flu-like symptoms.
  • Addressing any relevant facility concerns, such as ensuring adequate hand washing and drying supplies, etc.

Sick employees

Best practice with respect to sick employees in light of COVID-19 includes:

  • Employees with flu-like symptoms should not be at work but should recuperate at home on sick leave. Best practice is to provide paid sick leave.
  • In order to avoid unnecessary utilization of health system resources during this time, employers should refrain from requesting documentation from the employee’s primary care physician to substantiate sick leave.
  • A sick employee who completes a period of self-isolation directed by public health authorities will be provided with documentation clearing them to return to work when they are recovered and no longer infectious.
  • Sick employees who have not been directed to self-isolate should return to work when symptoms cease.

Exposure

Similarly, employees who are asymptomatic but believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should be directed to contact 8-1-1, their primary care provider, or local public health office, and follow direction given to them by those sources. Such employees must not report to work for at least 14 days. Best practice is for these employees to be put on a paid leave, such as general leave or other leave(s) consistent with your collective agreement.

Although concerns about potential exposure in the community are understandable, employees who do not have symptoms of illness or who are not actively seeking direction from a qualified medical practitioner may be required to attend work as usual.

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