As fears of the highly-contagious and potentially fatal coronavirus continue to spread, authorities have imposed numerous drastic measures and quarantine actions, from keeping passengers for weeks on a cruise ship to canceling classes for Japanese school children for the rest of the year. Some factories in Vietnam were forced to shut down operations when mangers on holiday in China were barred from traveling.
So what happens if you miss work due to illness or quarantine? What sort of job protections exist for workers under federal law?
First, let’s start by explaining what a quarantine is. A quarantine is the confinement of individuals who either have been or could have been exposed to a certain communicable illness or disease. Someone can be quarantined even if they don’t have the illness. This is different from isolation, which occurs when individuals who are sick are kept somewhere separate from those who are sick. Both state and federal governments in the U.S. have the legal authority to quarantine, though governments typically work together to determine if it’s necessary. A quarantine can last anywhere from a few hours to several weeks. If it stretches on past a few days, it could easily affect one’s ability to make a living. Continue reading