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Q: Should employers request or require an employee to provide a note from their healthcare provider due to COVID-19 concerns?

Beth McGrane, NJBIA HR Generalist

Let’s say one of your employees has been out of the office because they tested positive with COVID-19. They contact their manager to inform them they would like to return to work and have met the criteria to discontinue home isolation that is in line with the CDC guidelines. Should the employer request or require the employee to provide a COVID-19 negative test result or a healthcare provider’s note due to COVID-19 concerns?  

 According to NJBIA’s HR Support experts, the answer is “no.” 

 Employers should not require a sick employee to provide a negative COVID-19 test result or healthcare provider’s note to return to work. Employees with COVID-19 who have stayed home can stop home isolation and return to work when they have met one of the sets of criteria. 

 Sick employees should follow steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Employees should not return to work until they meet the criteria to discontinue home isolation and have consulted with a healthcare provider. 

NJBIA HR Support also recommends that employees wear masks at work. The potential risk that any employee poses to others decreases goes down significantly if they are wearing a mask while coughing (or talking, laughing, sneezing, or simply breathing).  

To bring maximum benefit to its members, NJBIA recently launched a new, comprehensive HR Support Center platform that provides employers with a host of time-saving tools and resources, the most up-to-date HR information, and live professional consultations seven days a week. 

NJBIA’s HR Support Center is included in NJBIA membership dues, while access to Support Center PLUS, with HR On-Demand services seven days a week, can be accessed for a nominal fee of $300 a year. 

HR Support Center benefits include: 

  • Policy library & law alerts 
  • HR forms, documents and templates 
  • Employee handbook builder 
  • Resources covering common employer laws including ACA, FLSA, and FMLA 
  • Extensive COVID-19 content 
  • HR webinars lead by HR professionals to drive lead generation for you 
  • Monthly HR newsletters and eAlerts from NJBIA 
  • HR fitness test to assess HR compliance gaps
  • Guides on popular HR topics 

 Members who upgrade to the HR On-Demand feature receive: 

  • Unlimited live advice via chat, telephone or email 
  • Question and answer history 
  • HR Concierge Live Chat 
  • Custom multi-state employee handbooks and consultation 
  • Custom project requests 
  • COVID-19 live help 

 Employers, both NJBIA members and non-NJBIA members, can learn more about NJBIA’s HR Support Center at or by calling 1-800-499-4419. 

For a video about NJBIA’s HR Support Center, click here.