While there has been a flurry of media attention paid to H1N1 in recent months, there has been limited focus on what Manitoba businesses should do to prepare for an H1N1 pandemic. A pandemic could have a devastating effect on business operations and it is vital that businesses do what they can to be ready. Provincial workplace safety and health, employment standards, and human rights legislation place certain obligations on employers and employees. This brief article will highlight some of the reasons that employers should prepare for an H1N1 pandemic and the statutory obligations and rights of which Manitoba employers should be mindful. Please note that the obligations of health care providers and child care centres are beyond the scope of this article.
Why business should prepare for an H1N1 pandemic
Statutory Rights and Obligations
- The duty to ensure the safety, health and welfare of all employees at work;
- The duty to provide information, instruction and training to employees to ensure the safety, health, and welfare of employees at work;
- The duty to consult and cooperate with the workplace safety and health committee or the workplace safety and health representative when one exists;
- Employees who are suffering from flu-like symptoms;
- Options for employees who are absent from work because they are sick, they are caring for a sick family member, or are assisting in the community;
- Options for emergency overtime;
- The duty to accommodate an employee with a disability; and
- The payment of employees should the workplace be shut down, the employer be unable to provide work to the employees, or the employees be unable to work.
- The duty to take reasonable care to protect their health and safety and the health and safety of others who may be affected by their acts or omissions;
- The right to refuse dangerous work and the reporting requirements when such a refusal is made;
- The right to be paid if there is a dangerous work environment;
- Compassionate care leave and unpaid family leave; and
- The right not to be discriminated against based on disability.
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