Working From Home: How Coronavirus Could Affect the Workplace

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Businesses are grappling with how to deal with a potential outbreak. Here’s what they’re doing, and how it could affect their workers.

Furloughs. Sick leave. Working from home.

You could experience any of these measures as businesses try to prevent their employees from being exposed to the coronavirus outbreak that health officials warn is almost inevitable in the United States.

Some companies have already taken precautions like limiting travel to affected countries or big international conferences. Others have asked employees to stay home because they visited a country with a more serious outbreak.

But with new unexplained cases being reported in the United States — and the first domestic death from the illness reported on Saturday — a growing number of American workers could soon be asked to alter their routines, or just stay home.

Exactly how that affects you will depend on many factors, including the generosity of your employer’s benefits and where you live. Here’s what labor lawyers and business groups say could potentially unfold in your workplace — and what rights workers have.