COVID-19 Resources

Due to the high number of inquiries received and the continuous developments regarding the virus, TAG is offering COVID-19 Retainer Packages to businesses concerned with the impact of this outbreak.

Request a quote below or call us: 1-800-401-2239

For the food industry

  • Daily Updates

  • Advice for Food Industry

  • What can you (we) all do?

 
Key Points
 

Below are some considerations for individuals who may fall into the high-risk category: 

  • Older Adults/People with pre-existing conditions. Although COVID-19 infects people of all ages, current evidence suggests that older individuals (>60 years old) and those with underlying medical and/or long-term health conditions (e.g. diabetes, heart disease, or lung disease) may be most detrimentally affected. Individuals over 80 years old seem to be at highest risk. Most COVID-19 fatalities have occurred among older adults

  • Healthy children and young adults. While experts are still learning about COVID-19, children have not been found to be as susceptible to COVID-19. To date, most confirmed cases in China have occurred in adults, with infection among children relatively uncommon. Affected children tend to have a milder illness than adults and older individuals. Of 70,000 cases studied, ~2% presented in individuals under 19.

Recommendations for
the Food Industry

Do Your Sick Leave Policies Align with COVID-19 Needs?

Businesses across the country are doing it, the CDC is recommending it, and Congress has proposed bills to require it. Today, we are focusing on sick leave. Have you extended your sick leave policy to those not previously covered? Should you be?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70% of low-wage workers do not receive paid sick leave. Without benefits, many workers will continue working while sick, because they can't afford to. While enough danger normally arises from ill workers potentially contaminating foods and otherwise transmitting viruses, gastrointestinal viruses, and other illnesses, the risk of infection rises significantly during a global pandemic – like the current COVID-19 pandemic.

In the CDC's Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers, employers are recommended to ensure that their sick-leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance. Policies may include permitting employees to stay home to care for a sick family member and not requiring a healthcare provider's note to validate a worker's illness or return to work.

In response to the extensive and fast spread of COVID-19, many businesses have extended their sick leave benefits, including:

  • Walmart. Following the news that a worker tested positive for COVID-19, Walmart issued a "COVID-19 emergency leave policy" which provides two weeks of sick pay for quarantined facilities or associates, and for those who contract the virus, with additional compensation for up to 26 weeks, if required. Additionally, the retailer is suspending its attendance policy to enable individuals who feel unable or uncomfortable with working on using their paid-time-off benefits.

  • Darden Restaurants. At Darden Restaurants, hourly workers can accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 worked.

  • McDonald’s. McDonalds' is providing up to two weeks paid sick leave for quarantined employees of its corporate-owned stores.

  • Instacart. Instacart introduced a policy by which its part-time in-store shoppers can accrue sick pay based on hours worked in 2020.

 

If those examples aren’t enough to have you considering extending sick leave policies, you might not even have a choice, soon. In early March, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced bills that would immediately mandate employers to provide workers with 14 days of paid sick leave to be used during a public health emergency (including in the current crisis). Additionally, outside of public health emergencies, the legislation builds off the previous Murray, DeLauro Healthy Families Act, requiring employers to provide seven (7) days of accrued sick leave.

Pending the passage of such legislation, businesses should review their sick-leave policies and determine the best path forward. While it can be costly to pay a worker to stay home for two weeks, it can be significantly more expensive not to. Not only are you risking the health of your customers (particularly if your employees work with food); but, a sick worker can transmit the virus to other workers, leading to even higher absenteeism. Additionally, depending on the level of interaction a COVID-19 diagnosed employee has had with coworkers, public health authorities may order your business to be closed.  Even if you are not providing sick pay, an absent worker will likely need to be replaced, potentially with a higher-cost temp worker or resulting in overtime for other hourly workers.  When considering sick-leave policy changes, consider how the policy can incentivize workers who are sick to stay home NOW when the risk of COVID-19 transmission is increasing in the US. Finally, if an outbreak were traced back to you, consider the negative impacts on your business, including potential business closure, recalled food, and a possible legal battle.

TAG has been working with businesses to help them deal with the current crises. Find out more about our COVID-19 Retainer Package, we can assess your policies and make recommendations specific to COVID-19.

 

Keep up to date with COVID-19:

Please send us any questions, comments, and/or concerns! We are happy to talk with you. 

 

OR call us at 1-800-401-2239

Learn how TAG can help your company ensure food safety and brand protection.

Contact us today!


 

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