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The Church Guide to Coronavirus

POSSIBLE DISRUPTION #4: Church Staff Absenteeism

The best recommendation to manage community health is to stay home if you are experiencing symptoms. In addition, anyone in close contact (i.e., family members) with someone experiencing symptoms is encouraged to stay home in quarantine. It is naive to believe that your staff will not be affected should the virus come to your community. What plans do you have in place for continuity of pastoral care and services with staff absenteeism?

Church Guide to Coronavirus 1

HOW TO MANAGE POTENTIAL STAFF ABSENTEEISM

In the event of leadership being absent, you will need contingency plans for each position.

• Identify the critical job duties.

• Cross train for those duties now.

• Identify two people who can assume those duties in a staff person’s absence to add two layers of contingency. These personnel management guidelines are recommended by the

CDC:

• Actively encourage sick employees to stay home.

Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health

guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.

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• Do not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.

Employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.

• Separate sick employees. Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

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Christine Yount Jones is Content Director for Outreach Media Group. She has published several books and hundreds of articles about ministry in the last three decades. Before his death in 2003, Michael Yount and Christine had three children. Now, she and her husband, Ray Jones, together have five grown kids.