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Global spread of COVID-19 and its impact on Employment Screening Industry

The outbreak of the corona virus is having a profound and serious impact on the global economy and have urged policymakers to look for ways to respond. Coronavirus are a family of viruses that can cause illnesses such as the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). In 2019, a new coronavirus was identified as the cause of a disease outbreak that originated from China.

The disease it causes is called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Cases of COVID-19 have been reported in a growing number of countries. World Health Organization declared it a global pandemic in March 2020. The outbreak brought terrible human suffering around the globe. According to the report of WHO till date there are 197 territory or countries with 416,686 cases and 18,589 confirmed death cases due to this disease. The rise of COVID-19 and its severity has seen a significant shift in the way many industries and corporations conduct their day to day work. Most of the organizations have shifted to work from home model.

Although the remote working arrangements or teleworking are not new but currently, we are seeing more employers moving to this arrangement than ever across the globe. Specifically for credit reporting agencies it has been observed generally that there are delays in responses from the verifying authorities besides that enabling employees to work remotely from home has put a financial burden on the companies to provide adequate information technology infrastructure and access to the basic work tools needed to conduct their jobs efficiently. Most of the organizations however have seen to be successfully implementing their business continuity and contingency plans.

In United States, The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 was passed to help ensure safe and healthful working conditions for American workers. The Act’s “General Duty Clause” requires that employers provide “employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause the death or serious physical harm to [its] employees.” Similar occupational safety laws prevail in each country which are to be obliged. Since the transmission of the Coronavirus generally occurs via respiratory means from close personal contact with others, employers around the world have a duty to devise and implement a plan that keeps their workers safe from the disease.

The short-term strategy for industry includes:

• Urging sick workers to stay at home

• Sending workers with respiratory illnesses home

• Reiterating good coughing and sneezing etiquette and handwashing

• Routinely disinfecting surfaces

The long-term strategy for industry includes:

• Establishing an infectious disease outbreak response plan

• Readying your company’s infrastructure for remote workers

• Addressing the impact of supply chain interruptions

• Preparing for absenteeism in the workplace