DPS Employees: Know Your Rights on COVID-19 Testing

May 18, 2020

The Department of Public Safety announced plans Thursday to test employees for COVID-19 using LabCorp tests and FastMed facilities around the state.

We prepared this page to inform DPS employees of their rights surrounding testing and other COVID-19 related issues. If you continue to have questions, please contact us at seanccares@seanc.org or click here to fill out our form.

Do I have to pay to get tested and treated?

On April 2, 2020, State Treasurer Folwell and the State Health Plan announced that costs for COVID-19 testing would be covered under the Plan. Additionally, the cost of treatment for State Health Plan members diagnosed with COVID-19 has been waived – including associated deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.

Who is excused from work?

Mandatory employees may be excused from work if they are isolated, quarantined, ill, or subject to other public health control measures, or if they are required to care for a member of the immediate family who is isolated, quarantined or ill. Based on an agency’s operational needs, a supervisor may excuse a mandatory employee if they are a parent (or guardian) who is required to stay home with underage children because of the closure of a daycare facility, public/private school, or elder care facility. If operational needs change, a mandatory employee may be required to return to work.

What leave do I have to use?

Agencies may advance leave to employees without adequate leave to cover missed work time, allowing 24 months to make up the time without penalty. Agencies also have the discretion to use up to 10 days of special “State of Emergency Leave” for all employees who request leave due to having symptoms potentially related to COVID-19, subject to the availability of funds.

When an employee is isolated by a public health official or is ill, the employee shall follow the Sick Leave Policy unless the State Human Resources Director has authorized agencies to provide specific State of Emergency Leave for employees (which may include employees with temporary appointments), subject to the availability of funding.

What if I’m forced to quarantine?

Employee shall be granted Administrative Leave – CDE until the specified period of time ends or the employee becomes ill or is isolated by a public health official, whichever comes first. The maximum amount of Administrative Leave – CDE that may be granted to an employee will be 80 hours during a declared state of emergency. This shall include employees with temporary appointments.

What if multiple asymptomatic mandatory employees test positive for COVID-19?

The agency head shall develop an alternative plan for personnel in case the designated personnel are unable to work. Alternative workers may include current employees who are not designated as mandatory but who possess the skills to fill in for mandatory employees, retirees, contract workers, or other temporary employees. This will be especially important in a pandemic that may last for several weeks or months.

Can I be retaliated against for being tested?

NO. State employees are protected under the Unlawful Workplace Harassment policy. All employees have the right to work in an environment free from discrimination and harassing conduct. No state employee shall engage in conduct that falls under the definition of unlawful workplace harassment, including sexual harassment, discrimination, or retaliation.