H1N1 FAQs for Faculty and Staff

Q:

Will WSU provide paid sick leave to faculty or staff who are out of work because they have pandemic influenza, have been exposed to a family member with influenza, or are caring for a family member with influenza?
 

A:

WSU policies allow faculty and staff to take paid sick leave if they are ill or have a family member who is ill, as per PPMs 3-21, 3-21a, and 3-29a.
Please encourage faculty or staff who are ill with pandemic influenza to stay home. An individual is contagious 24 hours before they have symptoms of the H1N1 (swine) flu virus. After 7 days, the individual should no longer be contagious.

Q:

Is WSU required by law to provide paid sick leave to faculty or staff who are out of work because they have been exposed to someone with influenza?
 

A:

No. However, the University will be receptive to guidance from the CDC and/or the Utah Department of Health on this issue.

Q:

May a supervisor send faculty or staff home if they show symptoms of pandemic influenza?
 

A:

Yes. But remember when making a decision to exclude faculty or staff from the workplace, you cannot discriminate on the basis of race, sex, age (40 or over), color, religion, national origin, disability, or veteran status.

Q:

May a department chair or supervisor prevent faculty and staff from coming to work if they are ill?
 

A:

You may exclude an employee from the workplace if you have objective evidence that the employee exhibits flu-like symptoms.

  • Fever
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Severe fatigue or unwell
  • Headache
  • Cough or sniffles
  • Chills
  • Came on suddenly

Q:

During an influenza pandemic, can a healthy employee refuse to come to work, travel, or perform other job duties because of a belief that by doing so, he or she would be at an increased risk of catching the flu?
 

A:

The circumstances under which employees have a right to refuse to work are very limited. Refusing to do a job because of potentially unsafe workplace conditions is not ordinarily an employee right under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act). WSU can impose disciplinary action for refusing to work. However, faculty or staff have the right to refuse to do a job if they believe in good faith that they are exposed to an imminent danger.

Q:

Once a pandemic begins, may a supervisor or department chair mandate alternative work schedules or alternative work arrangements?
 

A:

Once a pandemic begins, changing work schedules or job duties is usually within a supervisor or department chair’s discretion as long as such changes are nondiscriminatory.

Q:

May WSU encourage or require faculty or staff to telework as an infection control strategy?
 

A:

Yes. WSU may encourage or require faculty or staff to telework as an infection control strategy, based on timely information from public health authorities about pandemic conditions. Such decisions will generally apply to knowledge workers and are subject to Dean or VP approval.

Q:

How should students who display flu-like symptoms or express "feeling sick" be guided?
 

A:

These students should be advised to visit the WSU student health center or stay home.

Q:

Where can I go to get more information about the H1N1 virus?
 

A:

Visit the WSU Student Health Center's H1N1 (Swine Flu) Information and Resources page.

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