(Continued from open letter about the Company's response to COVID-19)
Protecting the safety and wellbeing of MAXIMUS employees is paramount. We are working tirelessly to do everything we can to protect our employees.
One of the first actions we took in response to the pandemic was enacting our COVID-19 Temporary Response Plan to address income-continuity and safeguarding measures for our employees. We remain vigilant in adapting and developing additional measures as more information about the pandemic and its impact becomes available. Similarly, the Company is taking the same measures for employees who reside and work outside the United States, addressing their needs locally through a combination of Company and government responses.
Helping government serve the people reflects our mission as well as our shared values and desire to make a difference by helping our fellow citizens. Our response to COVID-19 calls on all of us to be flexible, resilient, and compassionate as we do our part to help governments and our communities respond to this crisis.
For those employees who can’t or shouldn’t come to the office:
No MAXIMUS employees will face the difficult decision of choosing between their health and coming to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are a MAXIMUS employee and need to stay home for a reason associated with COVID-19, we have options to support you.
Specifically, we set aside Company funds and set up policies in early March to give employees additional flexibility and financial stability to miss work in a variety of COVID-19 scenarios. We want to take care of anyone who faces quarantine orders, self-isolation, sick family members who need care, loss of childcare options, or office closures. These protections include emergency paid sick leave, paid administrative leave, emergency paid family and medical leave, and other benefits and safety nets. We continue to develop and refine these as we gain more experience working under COVID-19 and respond to the impacts it's having.
MAXIMUS has also provided resources and communications to employees to help cope with the impacts of the virus. Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers counseling and crisis assistance to help employees manage their stress and anxiety, along with physical and financial resources. We continue to send regular updates to staff on how to flatten the curve by staying healthy and practicing social distancing, mental health guidance and resources, and policy and procedure updates.
If you are a MAXIMUS employee, my most important message to you is this:
If you are feeling sick, showing signs of illness, or come into direct contact with someone with COVID-19:
- Stay home
- Contact your healthcare provider
- Contact your supervisor or local Human Capital representative
This is for your wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of your co-workers. And remember, all our health insurance options will pay for your COVID-19 testing. Should you be diagnosed with COVID-19, our health insurance programs also provide coverage for associated treatment. Stay home and call your doctor.
For those employees who can work:
As communities in all 50 states are moving to tackle COVID-19, our shared mission of helping government serve the people takes on greater importance. People are facing anxiety, tremendous uncertainty, and severe disruptions in their lives. Many people are going to be looking to you for answers and guidance in getting through this challenge. I know you are up to the task, and I am tremendously proud of your efforts.
To protect you and all employees to the greatest extent possible, we aggressively implemented social distancing measures and facility cleaning protocols in accordance with recommendations and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We have redesigned our operations to change how our employees work and how our services are delivered. Our objective is to maintain effective social and personal distancing in our offices while reducing the need for face-to-face interactions with the public.
Where possible, we're shifting employees to telework from home – including in many roles previously limited to onsite work. We're also deploying HIPAA-compliant tele-meeting capabilities that will enable us to assist program participants remotely for more complex services, including clinical and social assessments required to access important government benefits and services. We are tirelessly working with our government clients to launch telework in projects that were never envisioned to be remote.
For roles where employees must work onsite, we are taking every precaution to ensure a safe work environment. While adhering to CDC recommendations, we are actively monitoring and updating our procedures as new or updated guidelines are provided. Examples of the actions we're taking include:
- More rigorous, frequent and proactive cleaning and sanitizing of our facilities
- Reducing facility occupancy to increase personal distance between employees
- In the event an employee tests positive or has come into direct contact with someone who has a positive diagnosis for COVID-19, we immediately initiate our pandemic response plan – including suspending operations at the site, sending all employees home, and sanitizing the site. We only use qualified providers that use disinfectants that meet the EPA criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19. These disinfectants are used on all surfaces within our facilities. We have also recently introduced an electrostatic spray that enables us to disinfect more thoroughly in addition to the minimum disinfecting standards we are following by the CDC. These efforts allow us to quickly decontaminate the site to CDC, EPA and OSHA standards. The site remains closed until we have met these standards and are satisfied that it is safe to resume operations.
Employees also share in the responsibility for keeping our sites as safe as possible. Be vigilant about social distancing, frequent handwashing, cleaning and disinfecting, and staying at home when sick. We will continue sharing recommendations from the CDC and our medical experts as reminders to keep this top-of-mind. In all likelihood, this will be everyone’s shared responsibility for some time to come – including after states and local communities begin lifting current restrictions on non-essential services.