As you may know, COVID cases are spiking in many areas of the country, with daily positive tests increasing considerably, and deaths increasing as well. The PA Department of Health maintains a list of COVID hotspots, and advises on whether it is safe to travel, and if one must quarantine upon return. We have an obligation to keep our fellow staff and clients safe, and must all accept the reality, based in medicine and science, that this is an active pandemic, and not a time to travel, attend parties or large gatherings, or otherwise act in an unsafe manner that puts others at risk.
Immediately and until further notice, employees with any on-site or in-community work assignments who are seeking approval of vacation and planning to travel for vacation must report their destination (city, state, country) and means of travel (e.g., airplane) to their supervisor and Human Resources prior to the vacation being approved. If an employee has already received approval as of today, they must now report their destination and means of travel immediately.
Human Resources and the CEO will review each request, and utilize current data about COVID hotspots to determine if the employee must quarantine upon return. If it is determined that the employee must quarantine, the employee must do so for 14 days after their return, and they may not report to work. During those 14 days, they may use accrued vacation time (not sick time) or be unpaid. Please note that any staff who travel or intentionally engage in otherwise unsafe behavior and who do not report it to their supervisor and HR will face serious consequences if it is discovered after the fact.
This policy is being implemented in order to protect our employees from unnecessary exposure to COVID. It is advised that employees use common sense about their vacation plans during this pandemic. This is the summertime, when many of us try to engage in fun activities with family and friends, and enjoy some vacation or travel. It is important to take time off, but this is not the time to travel internationally, by airline, or to a “hotspot” – it creates an unnecessary risk to yourself, our team members, and our clients. As much as we all want to relax and disconnect from work, we must do so in a manner that is safe.
Jason R. McLaughlin, MS, MSS, LCSW, CPRP
Chief Executive Officer