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Theres some relief for workers employers should review their insurance No one could have imagined the impact that SARS has had on HR policies Suddenly severe acute respiratory syndrome has become a critical issue not just for healthcare professionals but also for the corporate world In Ontario the hardest-hit jurisdiction in Canada the provinces Occupational Health and Safety Act states that every employee has the right to work in a safe and healthy environment The act applies to all workplaces in Ontario which are subject to provincial employment legislation Essentially under this act both workers and employers have a duty to maintain the safety of the workplace If an employee believes she is working in dangerous conditions she has the right to refuse to work without fear of reprisal from the employer Anything which jeopardizes this environment will violate that employees entitlement to a safe and healthy workplace and employers are liable for anything that jeopardizes this entitlement Accordingly when one employee brings SARS into the workplace he jeopardizes the entitlement of all employees to a safe and healthy workplace Consequently many questions have arisen for which employers are searching for answers Heres a look at the impact SARS or other severe contagious outbreaks could have on benefit plans Enlarge 200 Enlarge 400 Natalie C MacDonald What happens when an employer discovers that one employee has SARS and has attended in the workplace According to Health Canada it is incumbent upon the employer to immediately quarantine the employee suspected of having SARS as well as anyone who came into contact with him The minimum time for quarantine is 10 days and therefore the employee should be sent home along with all other employees who were in contact with him Is the employee entitled to be paid while quarantined The employee should continue to be paid either by the employer or through another
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