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Safety & Health at Work
Free COVID-19 Workplace Testing
To support employers in Wyoming in conducting COVID-19 workplace surveillance testing, the Wyoming Department of Health is offering free tests through a company called Vault Health. These tests are available at no cost; insurance is not necessary. The health department and Vault Health will work with employers to support the use of the tests for Wyoming-based employees, including appropriate training.
- Order free workplace tests from Wyoming Department of Health
- Testing strategies for various workplace settings
Does your non-health-related business need personal protective equipment?
If you need personal protective equipment (PPE) for your employees or clients, complete this form to apply for PPE from the Office of Homeland Security.
Preventing COVID-19 in workplaces is critical for slowing the spread in our communities and keeping businesses open. There are numerous guidelines for COVID-19 prevention in the workplace, including tailored guidelines for specific industries, occupations, and work-place activities (screening, gatherings, testing, cleaning, etc.). Many are available in multiple languages. Key sources of information are:
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) - COVID-19 Resource Page
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Guidance for Businesses and Workplaces
- Wyoming Department of Health - Public Health Orders and Select Business Guidance
Contact our free and confidential safety consultation services for assistance with COVID-19 prevention in the workplace.
- Wyoming OSHA Consultation: (307) 777-7786
- Wyoming Workers' Compensation Safety & Risk: (307) 777-8901
Steps for Every Workplace
- Ensure employees and customers know:
- Symptoms of COVID-19
- What to do if you are exposed to COVID-19
- What to do if you are sick
- Classify employee and workplace risk using the OSHA Framework
- Post and share information about COVID-19 in the workplace. Two good communication resources:
- Wyoming Department of Health
- CDC COVID-19 Communication
- Follow the OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces and the CDC Resuming Business Toolkit to prevent COVID-19 at work. Key strategies include:
- Follow all state and local public health orders affecting your business.
- Actively encourage sick employees to stay home.
- Emphasize to employees and customers staying home when sick, proper respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene.
- Ensure the work environment allows for adequate physical distance between staff and customers at all times (at least 6 feet).
- Wear cloth or disposable face-coverings when adequate distance canâ€™t be maintained, during group gatherings, and in public settings.
- Perform routine environmental cleaning, especially for high-touch surfaces.
- Follow travel advisories related to COVID-19.
- Seek out industry-specific guidance from the Wyoming Department of Health, OSHA and the CDC National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
- Plan for COVID-19 illness in your business, including closures, cleaning, communication with staff, and the temporary absence of quarantined staff.
Frequently Asked Questions
If the employer is covered by the ADA or the Rehabilitation Act and a pandemic is widespread in a community, like COVID-19, yes, that employer may take employee temperatures. If the employer is not covered by the ADA or the Rehabilitation Act, it should review any contract or policy it may have regarding medical inquiries before taking staff temperatures. In either situation, an employer should take staff temperatures uniformly and not single out certain groups of people. Please be aware that people may have contagion who do not have a high temperature.
- The Wyoming Department of Health provides guidance for employee health screening questions and the CDC provides guidance for employee health screening questions and temperature screening.
- See also the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace
Generally speaking, an employer does not have the authority to make employees do or not do much of anything during the employee's off time. In other words, absent some extenuating circumstance, an employer cannot confine an employee to his or her home.
If there is a public health quarantine directive for persons returning to Wyoming from other locations, employers should account for that quarantine period in any work-required travel plans and employees should account for that time in their personal travel plans.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provides additional guidance on employee travel and other management issues during a pandemic.
Yes, if showing up to work is an essential function of your job, employers may require employees to come into work, barring the need for isolation when ill or quarantine after exposure. Know your workplace safety rights , and submit any complaints about health and safety in the workplace to Wyoming OSHA . Anyone who is sick with or had exposure to COVID-19 should follow the department of health guidelines for when to isolate or quarantine.
If the employee has completed their isolation period (after testing positive) or completing a 14-day quarantine (after having close contact), he/she does not need a negative test before returning to work or other activities.
You may find certain high-density or high-risk work settings doing blanket return-to-work testing as part of on-going (surveillance) testing for staff. However, return-to-work testing after completing isolation or 14-day quarantine isn't required by health officials.
The OSHA Return to Work guidance supports public health guidelines.
Note: You may not get a call from a public health representative. If you need a letter as proof to isolate away from work, please visit the Wyoming Department of Health COVID-19 website and click the link to obtain an isolation letter.
It depends on when that close contact occurred in relation to the person's testing date, symptoms, and isolation period. Follow the state guidance on what to do if you are exposed to COVID-19 and when to start and end quarantine.
Note: You may not get a call from a public health representative. If you need a letter as proof to quarantine away from work, please visit the Wyoming Department of Health COVID-19 website and click the links to obtain a quarantine letter.
Unemployment Information and Resources for Individuals
Unemployment benefits are available to Wyoming people who have been negatively impacted as a result of the mitigation efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. Eligible individuals include those who have lost their job through no fault of their own, are quarantined by a medical professional or a government agency, laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period by their employer, or caring for an immediate family member who is diagnosed with COVID-19.
PUA claims may be filed now. We are working diligently to implement the PEUC system for those who need the 13-week extension of benefits. Please check this website frequently for updates.
If you have filed a claim for PUA benefits, please note you will first be declined for regular Unemployment Insurance. You will receive a "B9N" form saying your claim has been denied. Please note that your claim is still in the system, and is now being processed as a PUA claim. Within a few days, you should receive a PUA-25 form, which will inform you of your PUA claim status.
You may also receive a BAM-21 form. That form, like the B9N form, can be disregarded.
PEUC (13-week Unemployment Insurance extension)
Claimants who have exhausted their 26 weeks of regular Unemployment Insurance benefits may now apply for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which allows up to 13 additional weeks of Unemployment Insurance benefits. Find more information about PEUC.
BEFORE YOU APPLY
HOW TO APPLY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
The most efficient way to file for unemployment benefits in by filing online. Here is a video tutorial that will walk you through the process. And here is information about the process of filing for Unemployment Insurance, PUA or PEUC
STEPS TO TAKE AFTER FILING YOUR CLAIM
After you submit your Unemployment Claim, your work is not finished! Know the steps you need to take.
DID YOU GET PAID BY YOUR EMPLOYER?
If you filed for unemployment, you need to report all wages you receive while on unemployment when filing your Continued Claim for payment. If you don't report your wages, you will be in overpayment.
If you've been paid by your employer and you have already received unemployment insurance benefits for that time period, you must report those earnings. Please call 307-235-3236 to report those earnings or leave a message.
We will need:
- Your name
- Your Social Security number
- Your contact information
- Employer Name
- Pay Period Start date
- Gross amount paid for each week
- Number of hours paid per week
HAS YOUR EMPLOYER ASKED YOU TO RETURN TO WORK?
If your employer offers you hours to return to work, be aware you cannot refuse work to continue receiving unemployment insurance benefits without "good cause." This includes all programs, regular unemployment insurance, PEUC, PUA and FPUC. Work Refusal issues must be adjudicated to determine the cause. Quitting work or refusing work without "good cause" to obtain Unemployment Insurance benefits can be considered fraud. You must honestly report any work refusals on your Continued Claim when filing for weeks in the week you refused work. Your adjudicator will determine whether your reason was good cause.
A NEW PROCESS FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS (filing by phone):
In order to help those affected by this pandemic and meet this increased need, we have made some changes to our Unemployment Insurance (UI) filing system. The new process, is meant to reduce the volume of calls to the call center by taking claims on specific days, based on the claimant's last name. This alphabetical sorting system is applicable only to claims called in by phone or in person at the Workforce Centers. Claims filed online at wyui.wyo.gov can be completed at any time, regardless of last name. Here's a video tutorial for online filing.
For claims by phone, people should call 307-473-3789. Please note, however, that filing online should be encouraged as phone wait times are extremely long. For claims by phone:
- Claimant's last name begins with A-M: file claims on Monday, Wednesday or before noon on Friday
- Claimant's last name begins with N-Z: file claims on Tuesday, Thursday or after noon on Friday.
RESETTING YOUR PIN
Claimants requiring a password or PIN reset in order to file for benefits should send an email to email@example.com.
When requesting a PIN/password reset, claimants should include their name, the last four digits of their social security number, and their phone number. The Unemployment Insurance staff will contact the claimant by phone to reset the PIN or password.
FILE AN UNEMPLOYMENT APPEAL
Unemployment claimants or employers may protest or appeal within 28 calendar days of the date the initial determination notice was mailed to the address of record. All appeals must be in writing, identifying the decision which is being appealed and the reason for the appeal. When appealing, you should be willing to attend a hearing, most likely by telephone. At the hearing, all parties will be given the opportunity to tell their sides of the story. The hearing will be presided over by a hearing officer who will later issue a written decision.
For more information about appealing an Unemployment Insurance claim, visit here.
The CARES Act includes:
Increased Unemployment Insurance compensation benefits: This emergency benefit provides most individuals an emergency increase in traditional unemployment insurance benefits of $600 per week through July 26, 2020. This increase will be added automatically to claims that qualify. There is no need to apply for this benefit. These payments, and the back-pay for those who qualified between March 29 and the date the benefits are paid, will be processed beginning the end of the week of April 27, if not sooner.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): This emergency benefit provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits to people not otherwise eligible for regular unemployment, including the self-employed and those who have exhausted their regular and extended benefits.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): This benefit provides an additional 13 weeks of emergency unemployment insurance for people who remain unemployed after they have exhausted their traditional unemployment benefits.
CARES claimants will be able to file Unemployment Insurance claims online at wyui.wyo.gov as soon as the system is in place.
FOR RELIACARD® HOLDERS
These are new features that US Bank has implemented for claimants and their Debit Card accounts.
Additional Call Centers Added This Week
The planned expansion of our call center partners took another step forward this week. Additional customer service representatives (CSRs) are now taking calls at Teleperformance and WiPro. We've also added additional CSRs to our Elavon centers. Over the past two weeks, we have seen the number of incoming calls starting to decrease and more calls are being addressed by IVR functionality (partially due our expanded IVR, web and mobile capabilities). We will continue to prioritize the addition of more CSRs in order to better serve our cardholders.
ATM Transaction Limits Changing
Now that unemployment benefit payments no longer include the extra federal stimulus payments, we are moving our ATM transaction limits back to their original levels. With the lower load amounts, pre-COVID transaction limits are meeting cardholder needs and allowing us to better limit fraud. I'd be happy to discuss any questions you may have on this topic.
Website and Mobile App Updates:
This weekend we're introducing a few more enhancements to the ReliaCard® website and mobile app that provide expanded functionality. Updates included in this week's release are outlined below.
- Self-service card replacement - Cardholders will now be able to replace a lost or damaged card on the website. Please note that cardholders will still need to call our customer service team if the card has been stolen or a name change is required.
- Card tracker status updates - We have added additional text regarding card tracker timing and fulfillment to help keep cardholders informed.
Card Replacement Previews
Mobile App Updates:
- Self-Service Card Replacement - Cardholders will now able to replace a lost or damaged card within the app. Please note that cardholders will still need to call our customer service team if the card has been stolen or a name change is required.
- Mask User ID - As an additional security measure, we will now be masking a cardholder's user id on the login screen.
Card Replacement Previews
Masked User ID on login screen
More ReliaCard® Resources
Workers' compensation benefits for COVID-19 illness could include medical and indemnity (wage replacement) benefits. A claims analyst will determine if the illness qualifies for coverage. If the claim is denied, there is a process to object and request a hearing.
Wyoming Workers' Compensation medical and wage replacement coverage for COVID-19 illness will depend on many factors. We recommend contacting our department if you have any questions. State statutes that will likely apply include:
- W.S. 27-14-102(a)(xi) which defines injury as "any harmful change in the human organism other than normal aging..."
- W.S. 27-14-102(a)(xi)(A) which states "Injury" does not include any illness or communicable disease unless the risk of contracting the illness or disease is increased by the nature of the employment."
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, our offices remain open and Claims Analysts are available via phone or email during normal business hours. Paperwork can be faxed, emailed or mailed to the office.
It depends. Pursuant to Wyoming Statute 27-14-102(a)(xi): "Injury" means any harmful change in the human organism other than normal aging and includes damage to or loss of any artificial replacement and death, arising out of and in the course of employment while at work in or about the premises occupied, used or controlled by the employer and incurred while at work in places where the employer's business requires an employee's presence and which subjects the employee to extra-hazardous duties incident to the business. "Injury" does not include:
(A) Any illness or communicable disease unless the risk of contracting the illness or disease is increased by the nature of the employment;
The employee should file a claim if they believe COVID-19 was contracted at work. A claims analyst will determine if the illness qualifies for coverage. If the claim is determined to compensable, medical and indemnity benefits that are reasonable, medically necessary, and related to the work place illness will be covered. If the claim is denied, the process to object and request a hearing remains the same.
If an employee does not qualify for workers' compensation benefits and missed work due to a quarantine, they may be eligible for Unemployment Benefits. For more information about unemployment insurance benefits, please visit here.
Many healthcare providers are offering telehealth visits in place of office visits. The Workers' Compensation Division covers telehealth visits and will accept any TTD certification completed by a healthcare provider during a telehealth appointment. In addition, the Division will accept any other form of written certification from a healthcare provider during the COVID-19 pandemic. If your healthcare provider does not offer telehealth, e-visits, virtual check-in or phone calls, please contact your claims analyst so we can make other accommodations.
Yes. If you have not been released to full-duty, and your employer can no longer accommodate light duty, you will be eligible for TTD benefits.
Workers' Compensation accepts telehealth, virtual check-in, and e-visits. Please see the attached memo regarding these visits and how to bill Wyoming Workers' Compensation.
Telehealth visits will also be considered for payment. A home health request requires a written prescription from the physician that includes the reason for home health, frequency of visits, and duration. Documentation of face to face visits having occurred within 90 days prior to the start of home health services (home-bound certification) will be considered if treatment is medically reasonable, necessary, and related to the work injury.
Most of our Independent Medical Evaluators are not currently seeing patients. For those who are, the process for an IME remains the same and appointments are being scheduled several weeks or months out.
Paid Sick & Quarantine Leave
Workers and employers needing wage replacement support during COVID-19 illness or quarantine should explore the following options.
- Persons who are quarantined by a medical professional or government agency may qualify for unemployment benefits. Please refer to Unemployment Support for Individuals tab.
- If COVID-19 exposure occurred through work, Wyoming Workers' Compensation may provide medical treatment and wage replacement benefits. Please refer to Workers' Compensation tab.
- The requirement that certain employers provide paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave through the U.S. Department of Labor, Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) expired on Dec. 31, 2020. Per the U.S. DOL announcement, the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), 2021, extended employer tax credits for paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave voluntarily provided to employees until March 31, 2021. However, the CAA did not extend employeesâ€™ entitlement to FFCRA leave beyond Dec. 31, 2020, meaning employers will no longer be legally required to provide such leave. For more information:
Stress & Mental Health Support
This pandemic has been stressful for everyone in many ways. Please take time to care for yourself, and support your teams and networks with the following resources:
- Help employees cope with pandemic stress and anxiety
- Wyoming Department of Health tips for stress and coping during COVID-19
- Wyoming Mental Health and Substance Use Treatment Services. See the expansive COVID resource page and also mental health support and substance use treatment services by county.