COVID 19 and Type 1 - Workplace Question

Hello

I hope everyone out there is staying healthy and safe in these challenging times.

I have a question around people’s workplace policies during the pandemic.
I work for a large energy company and my job is essential to public safety. There is no opportunity to perform the work remotely and there is a requirement to interact with staff and potentially the public.
My employer is currently offering 4 weeks of paid leave for any employee that requires it during the pandemic. Given the peak of the pandemic isn’t expected for some time I do not want to take the 4 weeks now.
Does anyone have any experience with being high risk and being forced to work? Any strategies to keep yourself safe?
Unfortunately the employer will not lay me off. I am not sure if I should consider asking a doctor for a medical note stating I am not fit to work right now?

Thanks in advance for the responses.

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If you are required to work, you are all due some reasonable accommodation to reduce risk. This is in the interest of public safety because if you all get sick, they will not be able to function. They ought to take that serious, upfront, instead of creating a disaster. Part of security is physical security. If they are putting their entire workforce in physical peril, then they are not participating in secure business practices. Period.

Companys are currently: 1.) Splitting shifts so that have their people work during the day and half of their people work overnights; and, 2.) Moving desks/workstations between 6 and 20 feet apart.

Other energy companies have sent their people to work remotely. Do not wait for the peak. My state is allowing people at increased risk to leave. If you are over 60 years old, u should probably already have left, but it depends where you are.

My son’s job is essential because they build parts for the infrastructure. The management is breaking all kinds of rules including not caring that the workers aren’t 6 ft apart.

Finally management had to say that if anyone gets the virus they will get time off with pay. Also if the health dept says that the people working around the sick person need to stay home then they too will still be paid. Before last week management had said that the isolated workers would not be paid.

The company is not providing masks and they are only doing what they are forced to do. They will not add another shift so workers can be separated.

If a worker had a letter from a doctor they would have the worker use sick pay or vacation pay if FMLA couldn’t be used.

Matt your employer is being much more generous than my son’s employer. For some reason that I can’t remember, my son has a gas mask from WW2 I think. He is going to wear it to work tomorrow to make a statement.

They are not fulfilling their civic duty. This time calls for employers to make sacrifices.
Hehehe, I like the gas mask thing. Do it! Do it! Maybe we can make him a Go Fund Me Page (because he might get fired), but its for the greater good and we will be booming again in several months. We had a guy do something like that. Sometimes you gotta take the hit to implement change. Its important.

It seems that your employer has made a generous offer, is this in addition to normal paid time off, (vacation, sick time) What does one have to do to qualify for this 4 weeks of paid time off, can you use you sick time and vacation to extend those 4 weeks?

I worked for an energy company also in the natural gas distribution industry, although recently retired I have inquired of my old buddies what steps my old company is taking.

Their work is required also for safety reasons and they are taking social distancing to the max. Everyone that can is working from home, those that can’t are not allowed to congregate at the offices and work center. The offices/work centers are staffed by one person to answer the phones. Any workers needing to come in to the work center for supplies must call ahead to make sure no one else is there, only one person other than the receptionist is allowed in the building at a time. Of course the offices are closed to the public.

It is a bad situation and companies can only do so much and still provide required services. Hard decisions must be made, unfortunately yours is one of them. I’m glad I no longer have to make that decision. My commitment to the public safety would make me want to go but my age and my diabetes makes the risk extremely high. I do not envy your position.

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The company only requires that you have been impacted by the pandemic in some way (health, childcare, etc). Its a very generous offer, I’m just not sure what to do after the 4 week period ends. It seems senseless to take 4 weeks off, only to return to a situation that is even worse.
Vacation time is always an option.
Sick time is only available if someone is truly ill, not just fearful of becoming ill.

Tough situation for all involved, including the companies that are trying to support their employees and deliver essential services to their customers.

State of MN has a hotline to report people who do not follow the order in the spirit of how it is intended. Its our tattle tell line, LOL:

https://minnesotanewsnetwork.com/walz-to-senate-gop-leader-will-not-shut-down-hotline-to-report-stay-at-home-order-violations/