Guidance issued by ImpACT to assure businesses preserve human rights while combating COVID-19

LondonBusinesses and nonprofits should communicate to employees and contractors openly and clearly, explaining all policies on work conditions and time off, along with public health directives. The guidance applies to both for-profit and nonprofit enterprises and institutions.

It is the responsibility of both commercial enterprises and nonprofit institutions to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus while protecting the human rights of their employees, customers and other stakeholder from violation

“It is the responsibility of both commercial enterprises and nonprofit institutions to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus while protecting the human rights of their employees, customers and other stakeholder from violation,” says Maha Hussaini, executive director of ImpACT International.

This guidance directs that all public health directives must be obeyed despite adverse effects on profit margins, and that individuals’ rights, dignity and privacy remain intact as much as possible. It further calls for a flexible approach to work location and hours, including permitting employees to work remotely and requiring those who report possible exposure to the virus to be quarantined. Any previous requirement for a healthcare provider’s note before a lengthy absence should be waived. Likewise, employees who self-quarantine and cannot work remotely due to illness or other circumstances must be eligible for paid sick pay.

“Businesses and nonprofits should communicate to employees and contractors openly and clearly, explaining all policies on work conditions and time off, along with public health directives,” concludes Husssaini.

Workplaces are ideal forums for health education and intervention, ImpACT points out. For instance, websites, conference calls, webinars, emails and/or text messages can be deployed to make sure employees and other stakeholders are aware of the seriousness of the pandemic and how to reduce the spread of the virus.

Furthermore, enterprises should assure that personal information is kept confidential and that persons found to be carriers are not stigmatized or discriminated against. Asians are particularly at risk, due to their perceived association with the locus of the pandemic, China.

The ImpACT guidance stresses the need to respect individual rights and give a full explanation when measures are taken for the good of the public but seem harsh. It also urges all businesses and organizations to share learnings and collaborate with government agencies, healthcare providers/agencies and others, whether in the same industry or throughout a supply chain, as part of the collective responsibility to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

 

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