Press Release

Links to Employer Resources for OTA Members

April 07, 2020

Laura Salerno Owens; Kyle Busse

Q: How should employers respond after an employee tests positive for COVID-19? Are there notification requirements?

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html (see section on “Separate sick employees”)

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/standards.html (outlines when employer has to report COVID-19 infection to OSHA)

Q: After an employee tests positive for COVID-19, how should employers clean and collect company property – including vehicles?

Q: What are the protocols for getting a driver off the road and into medical treatment?

  1. D.O.T. Mentor has a directory of over 300 medical examiners nationwide.
  2. Members of National Association of Independent Truckers have access to the NAIT mobile app’s “24/7 Doctor” telemedicine service for no-cost consultations.
  3. Drivers can request consult via TelaDoc.com, 800-835-2362, or via Teladoc’s mobile app.  Doctors are available by phone, video, or app 24/7.
  4. Urgent Care Travel, the medical clinic network located at Pilot and Flying/Travel Centers (California, Arizona, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia) launched the Driver Coronavirus Evaluation Service, which will give drivers an opportunity to connect with medical professionals from the road.  The company is securing test kits and personal protective equipment, such as masks, gloves, eye protection and gowns for its facilities, and the service will be available to anyone, including truck drivers and clinical workers.  The initial evaluation is conducted via video.  The cost of the telemedicine-based Driver Coronavirus Evaluation Service is $40.  If the UrgentCareTravel Provider determines that the driver should come to the clinic for further evaluation and possible COVID-19 testing, the $40 will be applied to those costs.
  5. Long-term reserved parking is available via TruckPark Inc.
  6. Transflo launched a free tool/app to help drivers stay informed.  It will include access to health tips (the latest from the CDC), the latest industry info, live chat between driver and fleet, and truck stop information.
  7. The American Trucking Association has a COVID-19 update hub to keep drivers informed while on the road.

Q: If drivers are asymptomatic for COVID-19, but have recently entered hotspots like New York, what precautions should employers take?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided guidance to truck drivers delivering needed supplies to New York City.

EEOC allows employers to test temperatures in narrow circumstances to reduce the threat of COVID-19 infection.  The EEOC guidance, however, does not eliminate the risk for ADA claims and employers should continue to protect employee privacy and be cognizant of disability concerns.

Here are the CDC recommendations for people who have been exposed to a person with symptomatic COVID-19 during the period from 48 hours before the onset of symptoms until the person meets the criteria for discontinuing home isolation

Q: How should trucking companies approach drafting social distancing policies and what are some best practices companies should follow?

See Appendix A (sample Social Distancing Policy).

CISA memorandum on identification of essential critical infrastructure workers during COVID-19 response

Oregon OSHA (Interim Guidance for Oregon OSHA Related to COVID-19)

Oregon OSHA on Safety Meetings (Guidance that meetings may be suspended or altered during pandemic)

The EPA provides a list of consumer products that kill the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.  

Q: What happens after someone complains to OSHA about a company’s social distancing policy?

If an employee alleges worker exposure as a result of the failure to provide teleworking, OSHA will investigate the employer.

Q: With new federal programs offering paid family and medical leave due to COVID-19, are companies required to compensate all employees who take leave at this time?  Will the state or federal government provide reimbursement under these programs?

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.  These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.  Generally, if an employer employs fewer than 500 employees, it is a covered employer that must provide paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave.  Certain employers with fewer than 50 employees may be exempt from the Act’s requirements to provide certain paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave (see next question).

https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf (overview of what type of leave is eligible for pay and amounts of pay)

https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions (very thorough FAQ on the new law)

Overview of Paid Family Leave Refundable Credit

Q: What if a company does not have available cash flow to comply with the new law?  Are there exemptions?

Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees will be eligible for an exemption from the leave requirements relating to school closings or childcare unavailability where the requirements would jeopardize the ability of the business to continue.  A small business may claim this exemption if an authorized officer of the business has determined a number of factors, outlined in the following link. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions

Work Share (STC-Short Time Compensation) is an Oregon program that offers an alternative to laying off a workforce.  It allows employers to keep employees during slow times by reducing work hours.  Eligible staff whose hours and wages are reduced receive a portion of their regular unemployment insurance benefits to compensate for the lost wages.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)  PPP is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.

Loan Details and Forgiveness

Economic Injury Disaster Advance Loan  In response to COVID-19, small business owners are eligible to apply for a loan advance of up to $10,000.

Q: May employees take 80 hours of paid sick leave for self-quarantine and then another amount of paid sick leave for another reason provided under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act?

No. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions

APPENDIX A

Sample Social Distancing Policy

To reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to comply with the Oregon Governor’s Executive Order 20-12, the following Social Distancing Policy is in effect until further notice:

Remote Work. The [company] has transitioned all employees to remote work except for [_______].  [One employee] will come to the office from 8:00-4:30 each day to [_______].  No other employees are approved for coming to the office, even for short trips or after hours, without first contacting [the Operations/HR Director] to work through alternatives and/or for approval and to coordinate details and timing.  If [the Operations/HR Director] is not available, a backup contact for this is [    ].

In-Office Protocols (for individuals with permission to be at the office)

  1. Anyone who is experiencing symptoms of sickness is prohibited from coming to the [office].  And anyone who comes into the office and begins to feel sick should immediately leave and notify [the Operations/HR Director].
  2. Upon arrival at the office, individuals must wash their hands with soap and water and wipe down door handles and hard surfaces with disinfectant wipes.  Immediately report any shortages of soap or disinfectant wipes to [the Operations/HR Director].
  3. While working in shared space, use the 6-feet rule for social distancing at all times.  No exceptions.  Do not shake hands with another person or touch another person in any form.
  4. To every extent possible, allow 15-30 minutes before walking into airspace that another person has been in.  Set materials out in advance that are to be picked up and allow wait time before retrieving items that have been dropped off. 
  5. Wash your hands frequently.  Wash them after you touch any paper, envelope, package, or other hard surfaces that have been touched by another person.
  6. Routinely wipe down door handles and other hard surfaces that are touched by you or another person.
  7. Remember to keep your hands away from your mouth, nose, and eyes at all times, and especially with unwashed hands.
  8. Cover sneezes and coughs with a tissue or sleeve, and then throw the tissue away.
  9. Help ensure that everyone you encounter understands and follows the in-office protocols listed above.
  10. Upon arrival at home, wash your hands with soap and water.
  11. Report any issues or questions that arise to the [Operations/HR Director].

On the road

  1. Avoid socializing closely (i.e. within 6 feet) with other people in places such as gas stations, truck stops, delivery points, and accommodations.
  2. When traveling between communities, make sure to monitor yourself for COVID-19 symptoms like fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.
  3. Avoid spending idle time at public access points, including delivery destinations, crowded rest stops, and stores.
  4. Consider using debit or credit cards for purchases instead of cash.
  5. Be mindful of distancing and sanitation when switching vehicles with other drivers or assisting with loading or unloading cargo.
  6. Disinfect the interior of your cab using sanitizing wipes or a diluted bleach solution.
  7. Try to spend the majority of time in your vehicle or make similar accommodations.
  8. Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available.
  9. Bring lots of food, water, and supplies in case you develop symptoms of COVID-19 and need to self-isolate where you are for 14 days.
  10. If you develop symptoms, call the local health center wherever you are and ask for further advice.