HR Guidance for Exposure to COVID-19 and Leave Time

This guidance was produced by Ramsey County Human Resources in collaboration with Public Health. If you have a question that is not covered in this guide, please contact your HR generalist or your supervisor.

Last updated March 8, 2021

Situations

1. You have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Process and actions to take for benefit-earning employees

Notify your supervisor to discuss options to do your work remotely. Follow CDC guidelines. If you are not able to work from home, the following leave options are available to you:

  • Remaining PEPEL leave (up to 80 hours total).
  • Accrued leave balances (sick, vacation, floating holiday, holiday reserve, comp time).
  • Leave advance up to 80 hours total (sick, vacation).
  • Unpaid leave*

*If you have experienced complications or hospitalization from a positive COVID-19 diagnosis or have been prescribed a regimen of treatment, contact your department’s transactions/payroll contact for FMLA paperwork.

Process and action to take for non-benefit-earning employees

Notify your supervisor to discuss options to do your work remotely. Follow CDC guidelines. If you are not able to work from home, the following leave options are available to you:

  • Remaining PEPEL leave (up to 80 hours total).
  • Unpaid leave*.

*If you have experienced complications or hospitalization from a positive COVID-19 diagnosis or have been prescribed a regimen of treatment, contact your department’s transactions/payroll contact for FMLA paperwork.

CDC guidelines

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you must inform you supervisor and isolate at home. The isolation period is:

  • Ten days from the day you first started experiencing symptoms, if symptomatic, or from the day you received a positive test result if asymptomatic.
  • At least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing mediation, and;
  • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving (loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation).

If you developed no symptoms, you may return to work 10 days after you received your positive test. The day you receive the test is considered day zero. If you experience severe COVID-19 illness, your provider may recommend isolation for a longer period. In this case, you will need to submit a doctor’s note to return to work.

2. You have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine because you are high risk for COVID-19.

Process and actions to take for benefit-earning employees

Notify your supervisor to discuss options to do your work remotely. Follow CDC guidelines. If you are not able to work from home, the following leave options are available to you:

  • Remaining PEPEL leave (up to 80 hours total).
  • Accrued leave balances (sick, vacation, floating holiday, holiday reserve, comp time).
  • Leave advance up to 80 hours total (sick, vacation).
  • Unpaid leave*.

*If you have experienced complications or hospitalization from a positive COVID-19 diagnosis or have been prescribed a regimen of treatment, contact your department’s transactions/payroll contact for FMLA paperwork.

Process and action to take for non-benefit-earning employees

Notify your supervisor to discuss options to do your work remotely. Follow CDC guidelines. If you are not able to work from home, the following leave options are available to you:

  • Remaining PEPEL leave (up to 80 hours total).
  • Unpaid leave*.

*If you have experienced complications or hospitalization from a positive COVID-19 diagnosis or have been prescribed a regimen of treatment, contact your department’s transactions/payroll contact for FMLA paperwork.

CDC guidelines

If a health care provider directs you to self-quarantine because you are high risk for complications due to COVID-19, follow the health care provider’s orders to quarantine and do not physically return to your workspace until your health care provider clears you to do so. High risk individuals may include those with:

3. You are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a diagnosis from a health care provider.

Process and actions to take for benefit-earning employees

Notify your supervisor to discuss options to do your work remotely. Follow CDC guidelines. You should stay home until you receive your test results and work from home if you are able. If you are not able to work from home, the following leave options are available to you:

  • Remaining PEPEL leave (up to 80 hours total).
  • Accrued leave balances (sick, vacation, floating holiday, holiday reserve, comp time).
  • Leave advance up to 80 hours total (sick, vacation).
  • Unpaid leave.

Process and action to take for non-benefit-earning employees

Notify your supervisor to discuss options to do your work remotely. Follow CDC guidelines. You should stay home until you receive your test results and work form home if you are able. If you are not able to work from home, the following leave options are available to you:

  • Remaining PEPEL leave (up to 80 hours total).
  • Unpaid leave.

CDC guidelines

You should isolate at home, get tested and stay home until you receive your test results. If you have a positive test result, please see situation one above. If the test result is negative, you may return to work as long as you have been fever free for 24 hours and your symptoms have improved. Even if you have had COVID-19 within the past 90 days, you must get tested if you are showing new symptoms.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills.
  • Cough.
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
  • Fatigue.
  • Muscle or body aches.
  • Headache.
  • New loss of taste or smell.
  • Sore throat.
  • Congestion or runny nose.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.

4. You are caring for an individual who has been exposed and must quarantine. (For example, your child’s school has asked the child to quarantine).

Process and actions to take for benefit-earning employees

Notify your supervisor to discuss options to do your work remotely. Follow CDC guidelines. If you are not able to work from home, the following leave options are available to you:

  • Remaining PEPEL leave (up to 80 hours total).
  • Accrued leave balances (sick, vacation, floating holiday, holiday reserve, comp time).
  • Leave advance up to 80 hours total (sick, vacation).
  • Unpaid leave.

Process and action to take for non-benefit-earning employees

Notify your supervisor to discuss options to do your work remotely. Follow CDC guidelines. If you are not able to work from home, the following leave options are available to you:

  • Remaining PEPEL leave (up to 80 hours total).
  • Unpaid leave.

CDC guidelines

You may use time to care for your loved one. If you have close contact with the individual that has been exposed to COVID-19, monitor for symptoms. If you become symptomatic, follow situations one and three above for additional guidance.

You do not have to quarantine if:

  • You have been fully vaccinated (if you received a two-shot series, you received both shots, or you have received one dose of the J&J/Janssen vaccine) more than 14 days ago.
  • You have had COVID-19 within the past 90 days. You will not have to quarantine or retest as long as you do not experience new symptoms.

5. You are caring for your child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19.

Process and actions to take for benefit-earning employees

Notify your supervisor to discuss options to do your work remotely. If you are not able to work from home, the following leave options may apply to you:

  • Remaining PEPEL leave (up to 80 hours total).
  • Accrued leave balances (sick, vacation, floating holiday, holiday reserve, comp time).
  • Leave advance up to 80 hours (sick, vacation).
  • Unpaid leave.

Employees looking for resources can email with questions or visit the state’s website.

Process and action to take for non-benefit-earning employees

Notify your supervisor to discuss options to do your work remotely. If you are not able to work from home, the following leave options may apply to you:

  • Remaining PEPEL leave (up to 80 hours total).
  • Accrued leave balances (sick, vacation, floating holiday, floating holiday reserve, comp time).
  • Leave advance up to 80 hours (sick, vacation).
  • Unpaid leave.

Employees looking for resources can email with questions or visit the state’s website.

6. You learn that you have been exposed to COVID-19 either at work or you were exposed to COVID-19 through a close contact outside of work (meaning within six feet of an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more)

Process and actions to take for benefit-earning employees

This information may be shared with you by the Minnesota Department of Health, or your supervisor or manager. If you are exposed to COVID-19 as a result of work activities, file a "First Report of Injury” via RamseyNet or contact your department’s benefits representative.

If approved for worker’s compensation due to work exposure, you may receive benefits for loss of wages and medical expenses. Notify your supervisor and follow CDC guidelines to self-quarantine and monitor for symptoms. If self-quarantine is needed, work remotely if you can. If you cannot, you may use the following leave options:

  • Remaining PEPEL leave (up to 80 hours total).
  • Accrued leave balances (sick, vacation, floating holiday, holiday reserve, comp time).
  • Leave advance up to 80 hours total (sick, vacation).
  • Unpaid leave*

A person’s medical diagnosis is confidential and should not be shared with co-workers unless the person with a COVID-19 diagnosis shares that information voluntarily. If supervisors learn of this information, they will consult with Public Health and follow CDC guidelines to notify other staff of possible exposure and the need to quarantine. Employees should not discriminate or harass other employees or members of the public if they learn or suspect that someone has COVID-19.

Process and action to take for non-benefit-earning employees

This information may be shared with you by the Minnesota Department of Health, or your supervisor or manager. If you are exposed to COVID-19 as a result of work activities, file a “First Report of Injury” via RamseyNet or contact your department’s benefits representative.

If approved for worker’s compensation due to work exposure, you may receive benefits for loss of wages and medical expenses. Notify your supervisor and follow CDC guidelines to self-quarantine and monitor for symptoms. If self-quarantine is needed, work remotely if you can. If you cannot, you may use the following leave options:

  • Remaining PEPEL leave (up to 80 hours total).
  • Unpaid leave.

A person’s medical diagnosis is confidential and should not be shared with co-workers unless the person with a COVID-19 diagnosis shares that information voluntarily. If supervisors learn of this information, they will consult with Public Health and follow CDC guidelines to notify other staff of possible exposure and need to quarantine. Employees should not discriminate or harass other employees or members of the public if they learn or suspect that someone has COVID-19.

CDC guidelines

If there was an exposure, you will be informed by the Minnesota Department of Health, Ramsey County’s Public Health department, your supervisor or manager, or potentially your co-worker.

If the exposure was the result of close contact (you live in the same household or you were within six feet of the person for 15 minutes or more), you will be directed to quarantine for 10 days and to work from home if possible while quarantining. If you are unable to do so, you should talk with your supervisor about what county leave benefits and leave options may be available to you.

If you test three to five days after exposure, you may return to work after seven days with a negative test result. The date of exposure is considered day zero. If you are not directed to quarantine because it was a low risk exposure, monitor for symptoms for 14 days. If you become symptomatic, please get tested and follow guidance in situations one and three above.

You do not have to quarantine if:

  • You have been fully vaccinated (if you received a two-shot series, you received both shots, or you have received one dose of the J&J/Janssen vaccine) more than 14 days ago.
  • You have had COVID-19 within the past 90 days. You will not have to quarantine or retest as long as you do not experience new symptoms.

For departments working in critical care sectors, such as law enforcement and health care, your department may follow additional federal or state guidelines. Please contact your department for their safety plan. In these cases, if you had a close contact exposure and remain asymptomatic, you can work, but you must:

  • Monitor your temperature before coming to work.
  • Wear a face mask at all times; and
  • Social distance (maintain six feet between you and another individual, where possible).

Do not:

  • Stay at work if you become sick.
  • Share headsets or other objects used near your face.
  • Congregate in the break room or other workspaces.

If you become symptomatic, refer to situations one and three above.

7. You have been possibly exposed to COVID-19 due to travel or exposure to someone with COVID-19 who is not a close contact (meaning, you do not live with the person who is diagnosed) and will need to follow CDC guidelines to self-quarantine.

Process and actions to take for benefit-earning employees

Notify your supervisor to discuss options to do your work remotely. Follow the CDC guidelines for quarantine. If work from home is not possible, you may have the following leave options available to you:

  • Remaining PEPEL leave (up to 80 hours total).
  • Accrued leave balances (sick, vacation, floating holiday, holiday reserve, comp time).
  • Leave advance up to 80 hours total (sick, vacation).
  • Unpaid leave.

Process and action to take for non-benefit-earning employees

Notify your supervisor to discuss options to do your work remotely. Follow the CDC guidelines for quarantine. If work from home is not possible, you may have the following leave options available to you:

  • Remaining PEPEL leave (up to 80 hours; time reporting code 361).
  • Unpaid leave.

CDC guidelines

International travel/cruises: Employee should quarantine at home for 10 days after returning home if they do not get tested or may test between three and five days after returning from travel. Employees may return to work after receiving a negative test result. The day an employee returns home from travel is considered day zero.

Domestic travel: The Minnesota Department of Health strongly discourages travel. If you traveled domestically, you may have been exposed to COVID-19. Even with no symptoms, you can spread the virus to others. To protect others from getting sick, you must follow all work safety protocols: Wear a mask, socially distance, wash hands often and monitor for symptoms. If you become symptomatic, stay home, get tested and follow guidance in situations one and three where necessary.

Departments may set their own guidance in their safety plans and choose to ask employees to work from home until they receive a negative test result or for 10 days after returning from travel. Employees should get tested three to five days after returning from travel. The day they returned from travel is considered day zero. Contact your supervisor to learn what your department’s safety plan is.

If you know that you were exposed to COVID-19, (for example, you traveled to take care of a family member with COVID-19 or you had a travel companion test positive for COVID-19), you must let your supervisor know and follow the guidance for quarantining in situation six above, or if you become symptomatic, refer to situations one and three above.

You do not have to quarantine if:

  • You have been fully vaccinated (if you received a two-shot series, you received both shots, or you have received one dose of the J&J/Janssen vaccine) more than 14 days ago.
  • You have had COVID-19 within the past 90 days. You will not have to quarantine or retest as long as you do not experience new symptoms.

8. You have a COVID-19 vaccination and experience symptoms or a reaction that requires you to miss work.

Process and actions to take for benefit-earning employees

If you are unable to work due to symptoms you are experiencing from the COVID-19 vaccination, stay home and notify your supervisor. You may have the following leave options available to you:

  • Remaining PEPEL leave (up to 80 hours total).
  • Accrued leave balances (sick, vacation, floating holiday, holiday reserve, comp time).
  • Leave advance up to 80 hours total (sick, vacation).
  • Unpaid leave.

Process and action to take for non-benefit-earning employees

If you are unable to work due to symptoms you are experiencing from the COVID-19 vaccination, stay home and notify your supervisor. You may have the following leave options available to you:

  • Remaining PEPEL leave (up to 80 hours; time reporting code 361).
  • Unpaid leave.

CDC guidelines

Employees may need a day or two to rest after the COVID-19 vaccination. Not all employees will experience symptoms, but some may experience fatigue, headache or other minor symptoms. Those experiencing a more serious reaction (which is rare) may need to take additional time off.

9. You don’t want to come to work because you are afraid of catching COVID-19, but you do not fall into the high-risk category defined by the CDC.

Process and actions to take for benefit-earning employees

Contact your supervisor to discuss options to do your work remotely. If you can work remotely and it has been approved by your supervisor, employees are encouraged to work remotely. If work from home is not an option, you may have the following leave options available to you:

  • Accrued leave balances (vacation, floating holiday, holiday reserve, comp time).
  • Leave advance up to 80 hours total (sick, vacation).
  • Unpaid leave.

Process and action to take for non-benefit-earning employees

Contact your supervisor to discuss options to do your work remotely. If you can work remotely and it has been approved by your supervisor, employees are encouraged to work remotely. If this is not possible in your position, discuss with your supervisor the options available to you. Any time not worked will be unpaid.

CDC guidelines

You are encouraged to take precautions which minimize your risk of infection such as wearing a mask, social distancing (staying six feet part from others where possible), hand washing and cleaning of your workspaces. Consult with your supervisor if you have concerns.

10. You are subject to a federal, state or local quarantine order (this is rare).

Process and actions to take for benefit-earning employees

All Ramsey County employees are deemed essential; therefore, employees cannot take leave as a result of Gov. Walz’s stay-at-home orders.

Contact your supervisor to discuss options to do your work remotely. If you are not able to work from home, the following leave options are available to you:

  • Remaining PEPEL leave (up to 80 hours total).
  • Accrued leave balances (sick, vacation, floating holiday, holiday reserve, comp time).
  • Leave advance up to 80 hours (sick, vacation).
  • Unpaid leave.

Process and action to take for non-benefit-earning employees

All Ramsey County Employees are deemed essential; therefore, employees cannot take leave as a result of Gov. Walz’s stay-at-home orders.

Contact your supervisor to discuss options to do your work remotely. If you are not able to work from home, the following leave options are available to you:

  • Remaining PEPEL leave (up to 80 hours total).
  • Unpaid leave.

CDC guidelines

You may report to work when the quarantine order ends.