Employees and Coronavirus
Implement a screening program for COVID-19 symptoms
You should screen all employees before letting them enter your business. The following questions can be used to screen for COVID-19:
- Have you had close contact with someone who was diagnosed or suspected to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days?
- Close contact means: A person has been within 6 feet of a case or suspected case of COVID-19 for over 10 minutes. Close contact can occur while caring for, living with, or visiting a COVID-19 case OR if a person has direct contact with body fluids of a COVID-19 case or suspected case from being coughed on, been intimate with, etc.
- Have you had a fever of 100.4°F or higher, shortness of breath, muscle aches, sore throat, or a new or increased cough in the last seven days?
If the employee answers YES to either question, they should not be at work and should stay home.
Employees with lab-confirmed COVID-19
An employee with a positive test for COVID-19 will get a call from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). MDH will provide them with next steps and help them identify other people that may have been exposed.
If MDH identifies that coworkers and others may have been exposed in the workplace, they will work with the Minneapolis Health Department, the impacted employees, and the employer to make sure everyone has information on what to do.
Employees with fever, cough, or shortness of breath, but no confirmed test
If an employee develops symptoms consistent with a respiratory infection - fever, cough, muscle aches, sore throat, and headache - the employee should do the following:
- Stay home and do not report to work, or go home immediately if the employee is at work.
- Isolate in the home as much as possible.
- Sleep separately.
- Don’t spend time in common rooms.
- Don’t share dishes, glasses, silverware, commonly used household items.
- Keep away from pets (if you have them).
If the employer thinks that the employee may have exposed coworkers and others in the workplace, they should call the Minneapolis Health Department to discuss what to do.
When can the employee return to work?
- If the employee has symptoms consistent with a respiratory infection - fever, cough, muscle aches, sore throat, and headache – the employee will need to stay home until:
- Symptoms including fever, cough, or shortness of breath have improved, AND
- At least seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared, AND
- Fever (100.4°F or higher) has been gone for at least three days without the use of fever-reducing medications (Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Aspirin).
For example, if the employee has a fever and coughing for four days, the employee needs to stay home three more days with no fever, and no use of medication for a total of seven days. Or, if the employee has a fever and coughing for five days, the employee needs to stay home three more days with no fever for a total of eight days.
- If you have questions about health procedures, contact [email protected] or call the Minnesota Department of Health hotline at 651-201-3920.
- Food and lodging businesses, and those with pools, please consult this additional guidance from the Minneapolis Health Department.
Employee Sick Leave
Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time
Under the City’s sick and safe time ordinance, employers with six or more workers are required to provide time off at a minimum threshold of at least one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Employers with five or fewer workers must also provide sick time, but it may be unpaid.
An employee's accrued sick and safe time hours are legally protected for their use due to coronavirus symptoms, testing or infection, both for the employee and for the employee to care for a covered family member, including for:
- Coronavirus screening
- Care or quarantine due to coronavirus symptoms or infection
- Testing or quarantine following close personal contact with a coronavirus infected or symptomatic person
- Covered family members' school or place-of-care closure due to coronavirus
- Workplace closure by order of a public official due to coronavirus
For more details on how sick and safe time can be used during the coronavirus outbreak, read the frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and the sick and safe time ordinance on sicktimeinfo.minneapolismn.gov
Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which took effect April 1, 2020, includes Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family Leave for all private employers with fewer than 500 employees. Employees are eligible for up to two weeks (or 10 days) of paid sick leave, subject to an 80-hour cap for full-time employees.
- This leave will be reimbursed in full through an immediate offset against payroll taxes.
- This paid sick leave is in addition to any accrued sick leave under Minneapolis’ Sick & Safe Time ordinance and employees can use this federal emergency paid sick leave before using accrued sick and safe time.
Safety requirements in the workplace during COVID-19
- On May 13, Governor Walz issued Executive Order 20-54, which clarifies the required worker protections
- Businesses must follow all CDC and MDH guidance and OSHA standards for health and safety
- Workers should continue to work from home when possible
In order to reopen, any non-critical sector business or retail establishment must have a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in place to protect the health and safety of their workers.
- Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), DEED, and the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) have developed a template plan and guidance that businesses can use as a starting point. A business’s plan needs to follow CDC and MDH guidelines and OSHA standards.
- Businesses are not required to submit their plans to the state for approval, but businesses should be prepared to provide a copy of their plan if requested.
- Copies of the plan must be shared with workers in advance of reopening and posted at the workplace.
By executive order, an increased number of workers have access to unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic. You are now also eligible for unemployment benefits if:
- A healthcare professional or health authority recommended or ordered you to avoid contact with others.
- You have been ordered not to come to the workplace due to an outbreak of a communicable disease.
- You have received notification from a school district, daycare, or other childcare provider that either classes are canceled or your ordinary childcare is unavailable, provided that you made reasonable effort to obtain other childcare and requested time off or other accommodation from the employer but no reasonable accommodation was available.
Self-employed, independent contractors and others
DEED has begun making Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) payments to people who are self-employed, independent contractors and others who were not eligible for regular unemployment benefits.
- If you have already applied for unemployment, you do not need to do anything extra to qualify. DEED will automatically set up an account for you if you are eligible.
- If you are self-employed or work as a contractor (1099 worker) and have been unable to find work because of COVID-19, apply for unemployment using these step-by-step instructions.
- If you already applied for unemployment without using the above instructions, don’t worry. Your account will still be reviewed for eligibility.
- Read the program overview on the Unemployment Insurance website.
How to apply
You are strongly encouraged to apply for unemployment online. The online system is available Sunday-Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- For Workers: Safely Returning to Work from the State of Minnesota
- Wage theft prevention information from the City of Minneapolis
- Minnesota Department of Labor resources and protections (multiple languages)
- U.S. Department of Labor resources and Paid Leave information
- State of Minnesota childcare information
- Family Medical Leave Act
- Minnesota OSHA COVID-19 information
- Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 employer guidance
- Minnesota worker protections related to COVID-19
- COVID-19 or other public health emergencies and the Fair Labor Standards Act questions and answers
- COVID-19 or other public health emergencies and the Family and Medical Leave Act questions and answers
- COVID-19 EMERGENCY FOOD SUPPORT
- You may be eligible to get health insurance through MNSure or get help to pay for your current health plan.
- Minneapolis Gap Funding - Rental, housing, and housing stability program expansion information.
- Internet access
- Low-cost internet and computer resources
- Adult employment resources
- Minnesota Works: Access current job openings on the Minnesota Labor Exchange (free of charge)
- CareerForcemn.com: Minnesota’s on-line career resource platform. Access industry and labor market information, create an account, and much more.
- Minneapolis specific programs:
- Youth employment resources
Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid: Find updates on court cases and advice for people with questions about housing, safety, health, unemployment benefits, etc. during this time.
Last updated Dec 17, 2020