How to get paid sick leave if you fear you have COVID-19

(BPT) - Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, workers everywhere have struggled with what to do about their jobs if they have symptoms they fear may be due to the coronavirus.

For essential workers, and for those whose workplaces are beginning to open up again, this is a very real dilemma. If you've got symptoms similar to a cold, flu or even allergies - and worry you may have COVID-19 - you might be concerned about exposing others, while also wanting to be sure you'll be covered if you can't go to work.

Steps to take if you're feeling sick

First consider the most typical symptoms seen with COVID-19 cases, according to the CDC:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you have any of these symptoms, have had recent contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and/or live in an area that has seen a flare-up of cases, you may have reason to be concerned.

Protect yourself and others by staying home

The recently passed Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employee Paid Leave Rights is a law requiring certain employers to provide employees two weeks' paid sick leave if the employee can't work "because the employee is quarantined ... and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis."

This law helps ensure you can be paid for your time at home, even if you have little or no PTO offered at your workplace - and your employer is reimbursed by the government for providing that pay.

Staying home from work when you're sick is the best way to prevent possible exposure to others, helping stop the spread of the virus.

Hurdles to getting medical treatment

If you need medical advice regarding your symptoms before returning to work, you may have obstacles preventing you from seeing a doctor, such as:

  • Being uninsured or underinsured
  • Feeling fearful of in-person medical visits due to potential exposure
  • Being low on funds to pay for a doctor visit copay
  • Lacking high-speed internet access for a telehealth visit
  • Not having time to schedule and keep a doctor visit

A solution to getting a medical assessment

There's a quick, easy and affordable alternative to help anyone get the doctor's note they need, either for their employer, and/or to request a COVID-19 test in an area that requires a medical referral:

For only $19, you fill out a confidential, online smart questionnaire that is designed based on the CDC list of common COVID-19 symptoms and high risk factors. Your questionnaire is reviewed within hours by a doctor licensed in all 50 states.

Once your responses are evaluated by the physician, you'll receive an email that same day with instructions, best practices and the doctor's note itself, which can be printed or forwarded to employers, allowing you time for a two-week quarantine. You'll also receive helpful quarantine guidelines.

So far, over 60,000 doctor's notes have been issued by the company in Germany, France and the United States combined, offering the only technology worldwide that can provide the quantity of doctor's notes that need to be issued during this global emergency.

This service, which can help protect you, your co-workers and the public, is now available in 39 states (not available in Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota).

"With the help of, Americans can quickly obtain the appropriate documentation to help them to access the benefits of the Families First Coronavirus Act," says Dr. Can Ansay, founder. "The online process helps reduce stress on healthcare workers while keeping patients and others safe from further spread of the virus."

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