PDC 30 BLOG

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This is guidance for members who are continuing to work for a PDC 30 signatory employer due to their work being deemed “essential” under the Illinois Stay at Home Order. After extensive review of several sources, PDC 30 has collected for your review specific member actions, general precautions, and employer actions that are intended to help you stay healthy and make important decisions during the coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis.

View this information in PDF format.

Member Actions: What actions are you expected and permitted to take at this time?

The chart below considers several situations PDC 30 members might be in if they remain employed, what they should do in those situations, and what they should expect their employers to do in those situations. What follows this chart is a more-detailed description of several General Precautions (actions you can take at home and at work to protect yourself, your family and coworkers), as well as  Employer Actions (actions they should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19). This chart will be updated periodically as PDC 30 learns more.

NOTE: This section on Member Actions does not go into detail on Illinois unemployment benefits, as this can be found elsewhere (see PDC 30’s guidance on unemployment benefits). Illinois unemployment benefits have been enhanced through additional federal COVID-19 relief programs. These enhancements expand eligibility and offer eligible participants higher weekly benefits for a limited period of time in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The rules that apply to these enhancements are not always immediately available, as the policy is emerging rapidly and altering many conventional rules for determining unemployment benefits eligibility and amounts. PDC 30 will provide additional guidance on these benefits as the situation evolves.

To view the chart on a mobile device, use landscape mode (horizontal viewing).

Your situation:* What you should do: What you should expect
from your employer:
  1. You believe, or are certain (due to a positive test), that you or a member of your household has become infected or are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 infection (to understand the symptoms, consult CDC guidelines).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Contact your employer and tell them you are not going to report for work.
  2. Effective April 2, 2020, you qualify for paid sick and/or family leave under new federal legislation. Learn more about that program here.
  3. If your employer says you are not eligible for paid sick and/or family leave under the new federal legislation, take careful notes (including date/time, who you are speaking to, and what they tell you) and contact PDC 30 (see below).
  4. Contact PDC 30 (call 630-377-2120, or use the Directory accessible at www.pdc30.com to send a message to the District Council representative assigned to your Local Union) so that PDC 30 can assist you in accessing benefits, such as unemployment benefits, while you are off work.
  5. Review PDC 30’s guidance on unemployment benefits so you can make the right decisions in a timely manner.
  6. Consult and follow CDC guidelines for people who are sick, including contacting your doctor for guidance.
  7. Consult your doctor and the most current CDC guidelines for when you can discontinue home isolation; return to work only when you are confident you can do so safely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Effective April 2, 2020, your employer should provide you with paid sick and/or family leave and will be fully reimbursed through payroll tax credits they can immediately access.
  2. Your employer should take actions outlined below (“Employer Actions”).
  3. To take proper actions, your employer may have some questions for you about where you have been working, and who you have been working with.
  4. Your employer may also ask if you (or anyone in your household) has tested positive for infection (it is ok for them to ask you this, because your answer may require them to take additional steps to protect other workers at your recent worksites).
  5. Your employer should not ask you to come into work, sign anything, or for you to take any steps yourself to notify anyone you work with about your health status.
  6. You are not obligated to share with your employer details about your (or anyone’s) health status. To protect your coworkers, you should tell them about a COVID-19 diagnosis or symptoms; but, no other personal health information is necessary (contact PDC 30 immediately - 630-377-2120 - if they ask you do any of the above, or anything else that makes you uncomfortable).
  7. Your employer should follow the guidance provided by your doctor and the most current CDC guidelines for when you can discontinue home isolation and return to work.
  1. You learn that a coworker you have worked closely with, OR another person you have been in close contact with, has tested positive or developed symptoms of COVID-19 (someone you have spent any period of time with, within 6 feet, since they tested positive or began noticing symptoms).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Before returning to work, contact your employer and share with them what you have learned about your coworker or close contact. You or your employer may determine it is best for you to self-isolate/stay home for up to 14 days to assess whether you contracted the virus.
  2. Effective April 2, 2020, if you and/or your employer determine you should not report to work for these reasons, you qualify for paid sick and/or family leave under new federal legislation. Learn more about that program here.
  3. If your employer says you are not eligible for paid sick and/or family leave under the new federal legislation, take careful notes (including date/time, who you are speaking to, and what they tell you) and contact PDC 30 (see below).
  4. Contact PDC 30 (call 630-377-2120, or use the Directory accessible at www.pdc30.com to send a message to the District Council representative assigned to your Local Union) so that PDC 30 can assist you in accessing benefits, such as unemployment benefits, while you are off work.
  5. Review PDC 30’s guidance on unemployment benefits so you can make the right decisions in a timely manner.
  6. Closely consult and follow CDC guidelines to help you determine if you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19.
  7. If you self-isolate/stay home, consult your doctor and the most current CDC guidelines for when you can discontinue home isolation; return to work only when you are confident you can do so safely.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Effective April 2, 2020, your employer should provide you with paid sick and/or family leave and will be fully reimbursed through payroll tax credits they can immediately access.
  2. Your employer should take actions outlined below (“Employer Actions”).
  3. To take proper actions, your employer may have some questions for you about where you have been working, and who you have been working with.
  4. Your employer may also ask if you (or anyone in your household) has tested positive for infection (it is ok for them to ask you this, because your answer may require them to take additional steps to protect other workers at your recent worksites).
  5. Your employer should not ask you to come into work, sign anything, or for you to take any steps yourself to notify anyone you work with about your health status.
  6. You are not obligated to share with your employer details about your (or anyone’s) health status. To protect your coworkers, you should tell them about a COVID-19 diagnosis or symptoms; but, no other personal health information is necessary (contact PDC 30 immediately - 630-377-2120 - if your employer asks you do anything that makes you uncomfortable).
  7. If you self-isolate/stay at home, your employer should follow the guidance provided by your doctor and the most current CDC guidelines for when you can discontinue home isolation and return to work.
  1. You are needed at home to care for a person who must be quarantined due to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19**; or you are caring for your child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons; or you are experiencing any other substantially-similar condition.

NOTE: It does not matter if you have another capable adult in your household, such as your spouse; if you believe you are needed at home to properly care for someone, even if no one is infected or has symptoms, this is your decision.

 

 

 

  1. You may contact your employer and tell them you are not going to report for work.
  2. Effective April 2, 2020, if you determine you cannot report for work for these reasons, you qualify for paid sick and/or family leave under new federal legislation. Learn more about that program here.
  3. If your employer says you are not eligible for paid sick and/or family leave under the new federal legislation, take careful notes (including date/time, who you are speaking to, and what they tell you) and contact PDC 30 (see below).
  4. Contact PDC 30 (call 630-377-2120, or use the Directory accessible at www.pdc30.com to send a message to the District Council representative assigned to your Local Union) so that PDC 30 can assist you in accessing benefits, such as unemployment benefits, while you are off work.
  5. Review PDC 30’s guidance on unemployment benefits so you can make the right decisions in a timely manner.
  1. Effective April 2, 2020, your employer should provide you with paid sick and/or family leave and will be fully reimbursed through payroll tax credits they can immediately access.
  2. If your employer says you are not eligible for paid sick and/or family leave benefits, in this situation you would be eligible for unemployment benefits (review PDC 30’s guidance on unemployment benefits so you can make the right decisions in a timely manner).
  3. NOTE: Illinois unemployment benefits have been enhanced through additional COVID-19 relief programs; these enhancements expand who is considered eligible and offer eligible participants higher weekly benefits for a limited period of time in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

 

  1. You are concerned for your health at work due to conditions at your work, or worksite, that you believe may expose you to COVID-19; or, because of the COVID-19 crisis, your employer cannot access necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) needed for you to safely perform your assigned work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. If you believe your concerns can be corrected through action by your employer, and you feel you can work with your employer to resolve whatever issues have caused you to consider not reporting to work, discuss your concerns with your employer. Take careful notes (including date/time, who you are speaking to, and what they tell you) so that you can share what you learn with PDC 30 (documentation of your concerns is important).
  2. You should contact PDC 30 so that they can assist you in addressing your concerns with your employer (see below).
  3. If you do not believe your concerns can be corrected, you may decide to contact your employer and tell them you are not going to report for work.
  4. Effective April 2, 2020, if you and/or your employer determine you should not report to work for these reasons, you may qualify for paid sick and/or family leave under new federal legislation. Learn more about that program here.
  5. If your employer says you are not eligible for paid sick and/or family leave under the new federal legislation, take careful notes (including date/time, who you are speaking to, and what they tell you) and contact PDC 30 (see below).
  6. Contact PDC 30 (call 630-377-2120, or use the Directory accessible at www.pdc30.com to send a message to the District Council representative assigned to your Local Union) so that PDC 30 can assist you in documenting your concerns about your health and safety and accessing unemployment benefits while you are off work.
  7. Review PDC 30’s guidance on unemployment benefits so you can make the right decisions in a timely manner.
  1. Your employer should take actions outlined below (“Employer Actions”) to implement reasonable accommodations to address your COVID-19-related concerns.
  2. If your employer cannot provide safe and healthy working conditions (for example, they cannot ask you to perform work that requires PPE that they cannot supply), they should understand your reasons for not returning to work.
  3. The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), not your employer, will determine your eligibility for unemployment benefits. IDES may ask you to provide details concerning the concerns that led you to leave work, in order to determine if you left voluntarily or involuntarily.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Your employer expects you to report to work, but you feel you need to stay at home to protect yourself and/or your family (in this case, you may not have any specific concerns about your employer’s actions or conditions at your worksite(s); you may simply be concerned that working during the crisis is too much of a risk).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Quitting because you are generally concerned about your health due to the coronavirus/COVID-19 may cause your application for regular unemployment benefits to be denied. Unemployment benefits eligibility under such circumstances may be different than what you might qualify for under situations A-D above.
  2. Contact PDC 30 (call 630-377-2120, or use the Directory accessible at www.pdc30.com to send a message to the District Council representative assigned to your Local Union) so that PDC 30 can assist you in attempting to access available benefits, such as unemployment benefits, while you are off work.
  3. Review PDC 30’s guidance on unemployment benefits so you can make the right decisions in a timely manner.

 

 

 

  1. More clarity concerning employee rights to voluntarily quit due to the pandemic, and what such a decision means for employees and employers, will likely emerge as enhanced unemployment benefits are administered during the pandemic.
  2. PDC 30 will update this guidance as more clarity emerges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* PDC 30 understands that concerns for your personal health and safety are serious and may involve difficult discussions at home with your spouse and/or family. We are available to answer any questions not addressed by this, or any other, guidance made available by PDC 30. Please feel free to include your spouse or other concerned family member(s) in your call; or spouses and concerned family members are welcome to contact us directly as well (call 630-377-2120, or use the Directory accessible at www.pdc30.com to send a message to the District Council representative assigned to your Local Union).

** The meaning of “a person who must be quarantined due to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19” is not meant to include any and all residents of an area ordered to “stay at home” or “shelter in place”; this provision is meant to refer to people who have tested positive, have symptoms, or are at higher risk of serious illness, such as older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions (see CDC guidelines for people who are at higher risk).  

General Precautions

The CDC guidelines call for the following general steps for everyone, everywhere:

  1. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  2. Practice social distancing by limiting person-to-person contact within six (6) feet, especially in groups or in enclosed spaces and avoid gatherings of 10 or more people.
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  4. Thoroughly clean and disinfect objects and surfaces you regularly come into contact with.
  5. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  6. If you feel sick, stay home from work to avoid spreading any illness further. If you must go out in public, do your best to avoid close contact with other people.
  7. If you believe you have contracted the coronavirus, you should contact your healthcare provider BEFORE attempting to go to a hospital. Discuss symptoms and options with your primary care physician.

At the jobsite, specifically:

  1. Avoid physical gathering with groups of 10 or more people (separate from one another with six (6) feet in between). 
  2. Make sure your employer makes hand sanitizer or hand washing facilities available to all employees working on-site. 
  3. Make sure your employer is providing you with any required personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to perform the assigned work safely.
  4. Hygiene related to the use of bathrooms or portable toilets is also critically important. Soap and water hand washing, or the use of a 60% alcohol hand sanitizer, must be possible within or immediately adjacent to bathrooms or portable toilets.

Employer Actions: What actions should my employer be taking at this time?

Below are several specific actions PDC 30 members can reasonably expect their employers to be taking during the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these actions are “case-specific” and may not apply to each and every incident that appears to employees to fit the situation described. This list of actions is intended to inform members of what is reasonable under certain circumstances; members must use their best judgement to determine the actions they should take based on their individual situations (see above Member Actions).

  1. Employers should assess their existing work in light of the intent of the Illinois Stay at Home Order, considering first and foremost the health and safety of their employees, the families of their employees, and the public.
    1. A determination by an employer that a specific job, services provided, and/or activities is Essential, Critical, and Necessary should result in the development, adoption, communication, and implementation of a COVID-19 (infectious disease) policy and site-specific plans and control measures for conducting essential business and operations in compliance with:
      1. CDC guidelines
      2. Illinois Stay at Home order and social distancing guidelines
      3. OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
      4. Guidelines, including but not limited, those outlined below
    2. While construction work has been deemed “essential,” employers and their end-users/customers may determine that specific jobs, services provided, and/or activities are Non-Essential, Non-Critical and Not Necessary, and should therefore be discontinued during the coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis. Such a determination should result in jobsites being shut down and/or ceasing specific services or activities as soon as possible. This may result in employees being  laid off, which will generally trigger eligibility for unemployment benefits.
       
  2. Employers should proactively plan for how the coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis could affect the workplace.
    1. Absenteeism: Workers could be absent because they are sick; are caregivers for sick family members; are caregivers for children if schools or day care centers are closed; have people who are at higher risk at home, such as older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions; or fear of possible exposure to the virus at work.
    2. Employers should familiarize themselves with recent federal law that defines circumstances that permit employees in situations like those described above to be placed on paid sick leave and paid family leave, or that make them eligible for unemployment benefits.
       
  3. Employers should use administrative controls to support the need for social distancing.
    1. Employees reporting illness (either their own or that of a member of their household) should stay at home and be encouraged to take the necessary steps to address their possible COVID-19 infection.
    2. Employers should designate one employer representative to manage all employee questions and concerns regarding COVID-19 and related employer policies and plans; and take the following additional actions:
      1. Encourage private transportation to and from work.
      2. Minimize the number of employees on the jobsite, or specific work area, to conform to social distancing guidelines (10 or less).
      3. Limit person-to-person contact, enforcing a 6-foot distance between people.
      4. Implement a No Physical Contact policy.
      5. Stagger shifts to reduce the total number of employees in a facility at a given time, allowing them to maintain distance from one another while maintaining a full onsite work week.
      6. Stagger breaks and lunches to avoid congregating in groups (employees should bring their own lunch and eat away from others).
      7. Establish Controlled Access Zones to your work area to prevent access from other trades and the public.
      8. Designate a supervisor to enforce social distancing guidelines.
      9. Provide workers with up-to-date education and daily site-specific training (“tool box talks”) on COVID-19 risk factors, social distancing and protective behaviors (i.e., CDC - How to Protect Yourself, CDC - If You are Sick, cough etiquette, and proper care of PPE).
      10. Include consideration for COVID-19 exposure when performing daily Jobsite Hazard Analysis (JHA) or Jobsite Safety Analysis (JSA).
      11. Train workers who need to use protecting clothing and equipment how to put it on, use/wear it, and take it off correctly, including in the context of their current and potential duties.
         
  4. Employers should develop policies and procedures for prompt identification and managing sick employees.
    1. The employer’s appointed representative/designee, or site supervisor, should ask the following questions to all employees prior to entering the jobsite:
      1. Have you, or anyone in your household, tested positive for COVID-19?
      2. Do you, or anyone in your household, have symptoms of COVID-19 infection?
      3. Do you, or anyone in your household, have good reason to believe you have been in close contact with a person infected by COVID-19, someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, or someone who has been exposed to COVID-19?
      4. Have you, or anyone in your household, traveled outside of the U.S., and returned within the last two weeks?
      5. Have you, or anyone in your household, been medically directed to self-quarantine due to possible exposure to COVID-19?
      6. Are you, or anyone in your household, having trouble breathing or have you had flu-like symptoms within the past 48 hours, including fever, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, body aches, chills, or fatigue?
    2. If an employee answers “yes” to any of the questions above, the employer should direct the employee to stay at home or leave the jobsite and self-quarantine for a minimum of 14-days. During the 14-day quarantine, the employee should be directed to the CDC guidelines on what to do if you are sick.
      1. Stay home unless seeking medical care
      2. Separate yourself from other people in your home (this is known as “home isolation”)
      3. Monitor your symptoms
      4. Call ahead before visiting your doctor
      5. If you develop life-threatening symptoms (such as trouble breathing/respiratory distress, new confusion, etc.) get medical attention immediately. See CDC guidance for caring for yourself at home for a list of symptoms that should cause you to seek medical attention:
      6. If you seek immediate emergency medical attention, or test positive for COVID-19, inform your employer.
    3. If an employee has tested positive for COVID-19, the employer should:
      1. If possible, conduct a phone interview with the infected employee to:
        1. Identify all individuals who worked in close proximity (3-6 feet) with them in the previous 14 days to ensure you have a full list of those should be sent home.
        2. Identify all areas of the jobsite that they had been in the previous 14 days to ensure you have shut down and disinfected all affected work areas.
      2. Send home all employees who worked closely with the infected employee for a 14-day period of self-quarantine as listed above.
      3. When sending employees home or notifying other parties that have potential for exposure, do not identify by name.
      4. Close off areas used by the infected employee for a minimum of 72 hours and follow CDC environmental cleaning and disinfection recommendations.
      5. Notify all other parties that have potential for exposure (General Contractor, other trades, building maintenance, etc.). It is not appropriate to identify the specific employee in such notifications.
      6. Prior to re-opening affected areas for employees to continue operations, the employer should communicate with those employees the areas that were affected and the appropriate measures that have taken place to ensure the areas are clean and disinfected.
         
  5. On all jobsites during the COVID-19 crisis, employers should follow OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces and implement the following: Basic Infection Prevention Measures:
    1. Promote frequent and thorough hand washing, including providing workers, customers, and worksite visitors with a place to wash their hands. If soap and running water are not immediately available, provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol.
    2. Encourage workers to stay at home if they are sick.
    3. Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes, and disposing of used tissue in a plastic-lined trash receptacle.
    4. Provide customers and the public with tissues and trash receptacles.
    5. Establish policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (telecommuting for meetings) and flexible work hours (staggered shifts), to increase the physical distance among employees and between employees and others, as long as state and local health authorities recommend the use of social distancing strategies.
    6. Discourage workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible.
    7. Maintain regular housekeeping practices, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, equipment, and other elements of the work environment. When choosing cleaning chemicals, consult information on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved disinfectant labels with claims against emerging viral pathogens. Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against SARS-CoV-2 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use of all cleaning and disinfection products (concentration, application method, contact time, PPE, etc.).

If employees have questions about whether an employer is violating the Stay at Home Order by not allowing for safe social distancing or maintaining a safe and sanitary work environment to minimize the risk of spread of COVID-19, please contact PDC 30 (call 630-377-2120, or use the Directory accessible at www.pdc30.com to send a message to the District Council representative assigned to your Local Union), or contact the Workplace Rights Bureau of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office at 844-740-5076, or workplacerights@atg.state.il.us

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