What are your options?: Questions answered for workers concerned about COVID-19

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Right after questions about the stimulus, we’re getting questions about your job. We took them to Syndeo. It’s a Human Resources outsourcing company based in Wichita, but with clients all over the United States.

Here’s a look at some of the questions…

What are your options if you can still go to work, but don’t want to because of fears over the coronavirus?

Syndeo says in this instance, “an employers regular attendance and leave policies apply.” However, the guidance Syndeo is getting “encourages employers to be flexible”… and consider work-from-home options. This would apply to “essential employees” as well.

Can you take FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) if you don’t want to work right now?

Maybe. Syndeo points to the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).” On April first, there will be a provision for FMLA expansion. If you’ve been with your employer more than 30 days, you might be eligible for FMLA, if you’re unable to work or telework due to childcare issues related to COVID-19. The size of your employer matters with this FMLA expansion. Syndeo says it’s waiting to get further guidance on this from the Department of Labor.

Could you lose your job if you refuse to work?

It depends. If you do not qualify for a type of protected leave, Syndeo says… your employer’s normal attendance policy would apply to voluntary absences.

Could you get unemployment benefits if you left?

According to the HR Company we consulted with… “If work is available to you and you voluntarily chose not to work… you will likely not be eligible for unemployment.”

Another thing to mention here, if someone at your workplace gets the coronavirus, your employer or a public health official should let you know. Keep in mind-- they won’t give you specific details, like who the employee is who tested positive.