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Old 08.03.2020, 00:15
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Corona virus - difficult employer situation

This is a reconstructed thread from one that was deleted. Some posts, time stamps and quotes have been redacted and/or may be slightly out of sequence as a result.

It describes a hypothetical situation where someone I'm calling Fred may have been exposed to confirmed cases at work and feels they should be quarantined:

- the canton helpline have said Fred needs to quarantine himself, especially as he has a low grade fever and is high risk.

- What would you do? Fred is highly uncomfortable about not remaining quarantined. The canton have said they will not test him unless he has severe symptoms but insist he should stay quarantined. Should he just ask GP for the 2 week certificate? Can and would they issue it in this circumstance or is it just those Doctors working in the 'virus' centres, who he could also approach?

- The cases were confirmed by the hospital and the employer is working with them and the appropriate authorities.

Last edited by Guest; 10.03.2020 at 00:40.
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Old 08.03.2020, 07:25
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Re: Corona virus - difficult employer situation

It is very unclear how these cases of the virus were confirmed and who by?

Surely the cantonal health authority would close the place and put everyone in quarantine immediately.

If not the authorities should be informed of the situation at your office and let them deal with it.

FYI Google employees in Zurich were informed that from Monday they must work from home...
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Old 08.03.2020, 07:33
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Re: Corona virus - difficult employer situation

Get a medical certificate from your/a doctor.
Contact your HR department.

I wouldn’t worry at all about your job. Nobody will dare fire you for being a responsible intelligent person following government directives.

Society must act responsibly for the survival of the weak and the elderly.
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Old 08.03.2020, 07:45
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Re: Corona virus - difficult employer situation

What would I do?
  1. Document the events, as you have in your post above, but telegramme style, and especially chronologically, with dates and times.
  2. Write down in detail the questions the canton helpline asked you, upon which they formulated their instructions to self-quarantine. Do not describe this as advice, but as an order.
  3. If you have/can find a mail address for your GP, mail this to him/her. Ask for a doctor's certificate.
  4. Do not go to work.
  5. First thing Monday morning, phone the practice and ask them please to read that mail asap, because you need that doctor's certificate.

To gather further evidence for your employer:
  1. Phone the GP now. There will probably a recorded message, recommending some other number that you should phone out-of-hours.
  2. Phone there, and document, ditto, which service that is, to whom you spoke, and what they tell you do to.
  3. If you have a medical advice hotline (this is a service provided, extra, by some medical insurance companies), do the same exercise there.
  4. Have a look on your medical insurance card for their 24-hour phone number. Do the same exercise there. Document.

You will then be able to write to your employer, first thing Monday morning, to say:
I regret to have to inform you that I am in quarantine, at home, due to the Corona virus.

I have been ordered by the Cantonal Helpline to self-isolate for two weeks. The 24-hour service of my medical insurer has confirmed that, in my case, this is the correct procedure.


If you do already have a doctor's certificate by the time you write to your employer, then send it, too.

If you do not already have a doctor's certificate by the time you write to your employer, then do not promise that you will send it later (just in case your doctor doesn't want to issue you one by phone... you shouldn't risk over-promising and under-delivering). If you are asked for a certificate, say that you are in the process of determining how to get it, given that you have to be in isolation.

With regard to your employer, do not mention your children.

EDIT:
I've edited the above phrasing a little, for clarity.
Also to add, based on the good advice of Sky (post 3), the link of Mullhollander (post 5) and the good advice of bowlie (post 6) of this thread, below:
  1. When you write to your employer, send the identical letter to a) your immediate superior, b) your department head, or someone similar, senior, to whom your immediate employer ultimately (but perhaps not directly) reports, and c) HR.

  2. If you are working closely on a project, then write a similar letter to your immediate team colleagues, informing them that on the instructions of the Cantonal Helpline, you are now in quarantine at home, and that you have informed a), b) and c).

Last edited by doropfiz; 10.03.2020 at 07:48. Reason: Since Ace1 reworked the thread, updating the post numbers where I refer to good advice of Sky, Mullhollander and Bowlie
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Old 08.03.2020, 08:06
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Re: Corona virus - difficult employer situation

The blog, InsideParadePlatz, reported on a similar incident at UBS Carouge-Geneva on Thursday. It seems that UBS is putting its (short-term) financial health ahead of its employees' health:

https://insideparadeplatz.ch/2020/03...-bei-ubs-genf/
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Old 08.03.2020, 08:22
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Re: Corona virus - difficult employer situation

I would tell your boss that the Cantonal Hot Line has told you to isolate yourself so you do not infect your colleagues. Also tell her/him you are contacting your HR office to advise them. Someone else at your employer should know what is going on. You might want to talk to them first.

And yes contact your Dr for his/her advice on your treatment. (and certificate).
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Old 08.03.2020, 08:30
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Re: Corona virus - difficult employer situation

Good luck OP, take good care!

I commute on the crowded Bern - Zürich route by train everyday. The government is recommending not to commute if possible & outside rush hour if you have to.

https://m.20min.ch/schweiz/news/stor...ecken-28956423

My work is still business as usual. I am getting over the flu and corona honestly scares me since I have chronic asthma. Is there anything I could do here? I don’t have a license to commute by car...I can do my entire job from home and being in the office isn’t necessary.

Can a doctor write a note for mandatory working from home?
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Old 08.03.2020, 09:48
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Re: Corona virus - difficult employer situation

Just go into your bosses office and sneeze. That should do it.
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Old 08.03.2020, 10:29
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Re: Corona virus - difficult employer situation

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Just go into your bosses office and sneeze. That should do it.
That made me laugh! Surely a cough and sneeze on the phone would be similarly effective, but less dangerous?
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Old 08.03.2020, 11:24
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Re: Corona virus - difficult employer situation

It's irresponsible to go to work with a fever. Any doctor will sign you off and your co-workers will thank you for staying home.
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Old 08.03.2020, 11:30
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Re: Corona virus - difficult employer situation

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It's irresponsible to go to work with a fever. Any doctor will sign you off and your co-workers will thank you for staying home.
This.

Whether they thank you or not is moot, but you should certainly get yourself signed off sick, even "a low grade fever" is a sign of some almost certainly transmittable infection, so your doctor, especially in the current panic-driven climate, will have no qualms about signing you off.

Last edited by Guest; 10.03.2020 at 00:15.
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Old 08.03.2020, 11:30
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Re: Corona virus - difficult employer situation

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Good luck OP, take good care!

I commute on the crowded Bern - Zürich route by train everyday. The government is recommending not to commute if possible & outside rush hour if you have to.

https://m.20min.ch/schweiz/news/stor...ecken-28956423
I had to laugh when I saw that. Up until a month ago that was my commute as well. Hope you can work something out.
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Old 08.03.2020, 12:38
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Re: Corona virus - difficult employer situation

https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en/home...beitswelt.html

The FOPH workplace guidelines are changing every day. A couple of interesting things.

1. People with pre-existing conditions (the FOPH has a list), or over 65 are deemed particularly at risk and must be given special protection, including allowing them to work from home

2. Employers should relieve the pressure on the health system by relaxing their rules about demanding medical certificates from their employees. I.e. not before 5 days

3. Employers should advise their employees not to use public transport at peak times and should allow their employees to work as flexibly as possible to prevent this being necessary

The FOPH's guidelines indicated yesterday that employers should activate their business continuity systems now.

Separate to the FOPH guidelines, employees who are primary carers for their children have the legal right to paid time off work to look after them, when they are ill. (there are lots of rules around this).
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Old 08.03.2020, 13:02
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Re: Corona virus - difficult employer situation

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The FOPH workplace guidelines are changing every day. A couple of interesting things.

1. People with pre-existing conditions (the FOPH has a list), or over 65 are deemed particularly at risk and must be given special protection, including allowing them to work from home.
Great! This is super helpful, asthma is on the list...hopefully my boss will understand. Thanks
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Old 08.03.2020, 15:38
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Re: Corona virus - difficult employer situation

I’ve been wondering how it is at the moment for teachers?

Last edited by Guest; 10.03.2020 at 00:17.
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Old 08.03.2020, 16:08
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Re: Corona virus - difficult employer situation

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Separate to the FOPH guidelines, employees who are primary carers for their children have the legal right to paid time off work to look after them, when they are ill. (there are lots of rules around this).
Could you please link to a rule about this? Thank you.
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Old 08.03.2020, 16:09
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Re: Corona virus - difficult employer situation

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I think its so unreasonable is that the workplace, advised by the canton give different advice to when you call the canton helpline.
This might be because:
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https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en/home...beitswelt.html

The FOPH workplace guidelines are changing every day.
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Old 08.03.2020, 16:55
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Re: Corona virus - difficult employer situation

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Could you please link to a rule about this? Thank you.
I don't have spare capacity, or language skills to respond properly at the moment. In my job context, I've taken legal advice on behalf of my employer, and the right is clear.

Google "switzerland parents paid leave for looking after sick children" and the first search results are EF threads, where posters include various links (German) to the Code of Obligations, and to the AVS authorities (FER CIAM - French).

Taking a break right now. My employer has created an employee hotline for all virus related questions. And, the accountability to respond has been gifted to me.

My weekend has been spent answering questions like. "I'm thinking of taking a vacation tomorrow in Tehran, with a stopover to see my sick parents in Milan - Can you confirm I'm ok to come back to the office next Monday?"

It's clear that most employers have no idea how to respond to what's going on. I've never felt so unqualified or so far down the food chain..
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Old 08.03.2020, 17:02
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Re: Corona virus - difficult employer situation

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Please note I work for one of Switzerlands largest employers :/
Imagine if the media were to get hold of this information....

Your employer is not handling this well at all. Surely you cannot be expected to go into work.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 13.03.2020 at 08:21. Reason: removed name from quote
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Old 08.03.2020, 17:04
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Re: Corona virus - difficult employer situation

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Nobody will dare fire you for being a responsible intelligent person following government directives.
I wish all managers and employees acted this rationally.

I believe many employers are frightened about the survival of their organisation.

Both the supply and demand for products and services could become disrupted and harmed in the long term, depending on how this develops.

Employers may well be drawing up plans right now to reduce headcount, working hours and restructure.

Not directing this at you, or OP. I recommend not taking a confrontational approach.
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