What the Updated CDC Quarantine Recommendations Mean for Employers

Author: Becky Canary-King

The CDC recently updated its guidance to provide recommendations for reducing the quarantine period after an individual has had close contact with someone with COVID-19. Close contact includes:

  • Being within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
  • Providing care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
  • Direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them)
  • Sharing eating or drinking utensils
  • Exposure to respiratory droplets, such as through coughing or sneezing

Individuals who have had COVID-19 within the past three months do not need to quarantine again.

While the CDC still endorses 14 days as optimal length for quarantine, the new guidance provides two options to discontinue quarantine earlier:

  • After day 10 without testing
  • After day 7 after receiving a negative test result (test must occur on day 5 or later)

If the quarantine period is reduced, employees should be directed to continue monitoring symptoms for 14 days post-exposure.

Employers may choose to continue to require employees to quarantine for 14 days after an exposure and should continue to follow any state or local requirements. However, these new CDC-approved options may reduce the burden placed on employees and employers by lengthy periods of quarantine.

For more information regarding potential exposures in the workplace and other COVID-related issues, please see information provided in our webinar on practical tips for COVID-related workplace issues.

The Labor & Employment Attorneys at Levenfeld Pearlstein are here to help with your COVID-19 employment-related questions, and other labor and employment needs as well.

Can Employers Require Employees to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Authors: Becky Canary-King and Laura Friedel

Likely, yes, but employers must consider accommodation requests.

While we have not received clear guidance from government authorities on administering or requiring the COVID-19 vaccine, we hope to receive such guidance once the vaccine becomes available to the general population. Of course, government guidance necessarily will guide how employers proceed.

As the law stands now, employers will likely be able to require that employees get vaccinated for COVID. However, employers will have to consider accommodation requests from employees for medical reasons, religious reasons, or pregnancy. What is reasonable, as always, will depend on the circumstances. Employers will have a strong argument that having an unvaccinated employee would cause an undue burden and/or direct threat to other employees, and therefore no accommodation is required by law. Unfortunately, that argument has not yet been tested as related to COVID-19.

Employers will also need to check state and local law for prohibitions. For employers who choose to require the vaccine, we recommend that the employer pay for the vaccine itself and for the time spent getting it.

LP will continue to monitor guidance related to administering the vaccine and update the answer to this question accordingly.