What the Oregon travel advisory means for employees

Does the State’s New Travel Advisory Mean That My Employees Have To Quarantine for 2 Weeks if They Travel for the Thanksgiving Holiday?

By Chris Morgan & Julie Preciado
Barran Liebman
Oregon law firm

The short answer is no.

On November 13, 2020, Oregon Governor Kate Brown, California Governor Gavin Newsom, and Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued travel advisories urging against non-essential out-of-state travel, and asking people to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving from another state or country. Here in Oregon, despite urging residents to stay local, the states’ travel advisories are just that – advisory. Although employers may choose to implement an internal policy requiring self-isolation before employees physically return to work, they are not required to do so.
A couple of additional reminders:

If remote work is an available option, employers should continue to allow employees to work remotely until further notice.

There may be independent reasons which require an employee returning from travel to self-isolate. For example, the Temporary Oregon OSHA rule that went into effect last Monday, November 16, mandates “medical removal.” This means that an employer must direct a worker to self-isolate whenever the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) or other local public health agency recommends that a worker quarantine or isolate, e.g. due to an exposure identified through contact tracing. During this medical removal quarantine, the employer must allow the employee to work from home if suitable work is available and the employee’s condition does not prevent it. Additionally, the employer cannot fill that position with another employee and thereby make it unavailable to the affected employee, who is entitled to return to their previous job duties following their quarantine.

If an employee has returned from travel and has been advised by a medical provider to self-quarantine, they may be eligible for up to 80 hours of paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) if they have not exhausted available leave under the FFCRA already. Check out the qualifying reasons for Paid Sick Leave under the FFCRA here.

For answers to additional COVID-19-related questions, contact Barran Liebman attorneys Chris Morgan and Julie Preciado at 503-228-0500, or at [email protected] or [email protected].

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