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A List Of COVID-19 and Employment Terms You Need To Know

Last updated March 24, 2020

We’ve been hearing a lot about “flattening the curve” “social distancing” and “Coronavirus layoffs” but what do all these terms mean? Here is a list of the most commonly used words and phrases we’ve been hearing regarding COVID-19.

COVID-19 Terms

  1. Centers For Disease Control (CDC): works 24/7 to protect America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens to do the same.
  2. Coronavirus or COVID-19: According to the CDC, COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. The name of this disease was selected following the World Health Organization (WHO) best practice for naming of new human infectious diseases. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease.”
  3. Flattening The Curve: In epidemiology, the curve refers to the projected number of new cases over a period of time. When we are asked to stay home in order to flatten the curve, it helps slow down the spread of the number of cases, so we don’t overburden the health-care system at any one time (which means better healthcare for every patient)
  4. Immunocompromised: People who have weakened or impaired immunity due to a chronic health condition, medication or malnutrition.
  5. Incubation: The incubation period is the time it takes for symptoms to appear after a person is infected. According to the WHO, most estimates of the incubation period for COVID-19 range from 1-14 days, most commonly around five days.
  6. Pandemic: An outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the population
  7. PPE: Personal Protective Equipment, it includes, but is not limited to, medically approved gowns, aprons or coveralls, gloves, respirators, face shields and masks.
  8. Quarantine: Separating and restricting the movement of people exposed (or potentially exposed) to a contagious disease.
  9. Self-isolation: Isolation, as opposed to quarantine, is what someone who is confirmed to be ill with a communicable disease has to do to separate themselves from healthy people around them.
  10. Self-quarantine: Staying home and away from other people as much as possible after exposure or potential exposure to an infection.
  11. Social Distancing: Any number of measures taken to increase the physical space between people to slow the spread of the virus. They include staying home as much as possible, moving classes from in-person to online, and staying at least 6 feet away from other people when you are in a public space.
  12. Underlying condition: A long-term health issue, including but not limited to asthma, diabetes, heart disease or condition and more.
  13. World Health Organization (WHO): primary role is to direct and coordinate international health within the United Nations system. Their main areas of work are health systems; health through the life-course; noncommunicable and communicable diseases; preparedness, surveillance and response; and corporate services.

Employment Terms

  1. At-will Employment: An employee can be terminated (let-go, fired), by an employer for any reason and without warning - as long as the reason is not illegal (e.g. based on discrimination)
  2. Disability Insurance: Disability insurance is a type of insurance that will provide income in the event a worker is unable to perform their work and earn money due to a disability.
  3. Exempt Employee: Employees who do not receive overtime pay, nor qualify for minimum wage. Most exempt employees have a salary that is above minimum wage. Example: let's say you have a job that pays $50,000 a year and you get paid twice a month (or 24 times a year). Your paycheck would be $2,830. Whether you work 15 hours or 60 hours a week, you will be paid $2,830.
  4. Fired: Employees that are let go (fired) due to poor performance, violations of company policy, or don't align with how your employer operates.
  5. FMLA: Family and Medical Leave Act entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.
  6. Furlough: Placing an employee in a temporary non-duty, non-pay status because of lack of work or funds, or other non-disciplinary reasons.
  7. Hourly Employee: a worker who receives an hourly wage for work performed.
  8. Independent Contractor: A person or entity contracted to perform work for—or provide services to—another entity as a non-employee. As a result, independent contractors must pay their own Social Security and Medicare taxes.
  9. Laid Off: When an employee is laid off, it typically has nothing to do with the employee’s performance. Layoffs happen when companies downsize, restructure, or go out of business.
  10. Long-term Disability: Insurance policy that protects an employee from loss of income in the event that they are unable to work due to illness, injury, or accident for a long period of time.
  11. Non-exempt Employee: workers who are entitled to earn minimum wage and overtime pay for every hour they work beyond a 40-hour workweek. Example: Let’s say you make $10 an hour. If you work 45 hours a week as a non-exempt employee, you will receive your regular pay of $10 per hour for 40 hours of work. The remaining 5 hours is considered to be overtime pay, which means you will be paid 1.5 times your hourly rate for those hours. So instead of getting $10 an hour for those 5 additional hours, you will receive $15 an hour for those 5 hours.
  12. Paid Family Leave (PFL): Money you receive from your employer, an insurer, or the government while you are away from work for an extended period of time so you can recover from a serious health issue, take care of a seriously ill family member, or bond with your newborn or newly adopted child.
  13. Paid Sick Leave (PSL): When you are sick and have to miss work, your employer will pay you for the time you took off to recover. This benefit is not all employers and rules vary by state.
  14. Salaried employee: A worker who is paid a fixed amount of money or compensation (known as a salary) by an employer. Example, a salaried employee may earn $50,000 a year, or $961 a week. Whether you worked 5 hours or 75 hours that week, you will be paid $961 for your work.
  15. Severance Pay: An amount paid to an employee upon dismissal or discharge from employment.
  16. Short-term Disability: insurance pays a percentage of your salary if you become temporarily disabled, which means that you are not able to work for a short period of time due to sickness or injury not related to your job.
  17. Stimulus Check: A check sent to a taxpayer by the U.S. government. Stimulus checks are intended to stimulate the economy by providing consumers with some spending money. 
  18. Temporary work/gig: a situation where the working arrangement is limited to a certain period of time based on the needs of the company.
  19. Unemployment Insurance (UI): Also known as unemployment or unemployment benefits, unemployment insurance is a state-provided insurance that pays out when you lose your job and meet certain eligibility requirements.  

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