HR Services

New Mexico State University

MSC 3HRS, Box 30001

Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001

(575) 646-8000 Fax: (575) 646-2806

 
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Questions and Answers Regarding Employee Issues Related Influenza (H1N1)

Employment Services recommends that departments establish a protocol for dealing with employees who are out or need to be out for influenza related illnesses. Below are answers to address some questions regarding standard practice and policy for use of leave for absences due to illness.

Q: I have an employee who is ill and has come into work. I'm concerned they may have influenza and will expose others to the virus. Can I send this employee home?

 

A: Yes. You can send an employee home who is exhibiting flu-like symptoms. While each case must be considered separately, employees with a fever greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit and a cough should be sent home. Other symptoms of concern are coughing and sneezing.

 

Q: Can I come to work if I have flu-like symptoms?

 

A: Please refrain from coming to work if you have flu-like symptoms.  The Centers for Disease Control recommends 'if you get sick with flu-like symptoms this flu season, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care.

 

In the event that you must stay home because of flu-like symptoms, you will be required to use your sick leave (for employees accruing leave) and if you have exhausted your sick leave, you may choose to use comp time or annual leave. If both sick leave and annual leave are exhausted, and H1N1 influenza is likely, employees who accrue leave will be allowed to accrue a negative sick leave balance up to 3 days.  After a negative accrual of 3 days the employee is placed on leave without pay.

Q: If I am absent from work because of flu-like symptoms, when can I return to work?

 

A: You can return to work as early as 24 hours after you are free of fever or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medication. In order to return to work, your supervisor may, after consultation with Benefit Services, require you to provide a release completed by your personal health care provider indicating you have been medically cleared to return to work. Please consult with your supervisor about the necessity of providing a release.

Q: Can employees in high-risk health categories request to go home?

 

A: Based on the extent and severity of H1N1 flu-related illnesses at this time, the CDC has not recommended that people at high risk of flu complications stay home while flu is circulating in the community.

 

If you are concerned about your level of risk, consult with your doctor.  If, after consulting with your doctor, you believe you are at high risk for complications and want to request to remain at home, contact Benefit Services to discuss your options.

Q: During the H1N1 outbreak, can my supervisor cancel my annual leave request that has already been approved?

 

A: Yes. Your supervisor has the authority to cancel any pre-approved leave request, especially in circumstances where there are serious staffing shortages as a result of illness.

Q: My child's school/day care is closed due to an incident of Influenza A (H1N1), and my child is not sick. I have no other childcare arrangements. Can I bring him to work with me?

 

A: No.  Per policy 3.15, bringing a child to work is not recommended or advisable -- and in many work areas, it is prohibited.  Children may, on rare occasions and with the approval of the supervisor, accompany a parent to the workplace. With supervisory approval, you may use leave or compensatory time (if applicable) to stay home with your child.

Q: Can employees be assigned to work from home or another work location?

 

A: The supervisor will determine whether working from home is necessary to ensure continued operations of critical/core functions or if an on-campus location is more appropriate.  Employees temporarily assigned to another location should be returned to their normal work place as soon as possible, consistent with operational needs.