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Coronavirus Fears Have Companies Expanding Work From Home Policies

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) -- Companies are expanding their work from home policies amid the spread of coronavirus. Among them is Waltham-based public relations firm InkHouse.

"Across our four offices: San Francisco and Seattle are working from home right now. New York is work from home optional and last night we decided that Waltham will be work from home optional too," said executive vice President and asst. GM Boston Ed Harrison.

Harrison spoke with WBZ News while he was working from his home.

"I think people are relieved we're taking a proactive approach to it," he said.

Cambridge-based pharmaceutical company Takeda is also allowing its 50,000 employees worldwide to "work from home where possible," including 5,000 Massachusetts employees, according to a company spokesperson.

InkHouse told employees in Waltham that they could work from home if they wanted (WBZ-TV)

If you do have to miss work because of the coronavirus, labor and employment lawyers said the best thing you can do is document everything.

"Make sure that you have medical documentation, be in touch with your medical providers to make sure you understand what your restrictions are," said Foley Hoag Attorney Christopher Feudo.

According to Feudo, workers may have to tap into sick leave or vacation time if they self-quarantine. He said communication is key especially since workplace laws in Massachusetts aren't set up to deal with an event like the coronavirus.

"There really aren't a lot of rights that employees individually have and it really is going to be a function of employers working with employees to figure out policies that work for both," he said.

Feudo expects lawmakers to take another look at the state's employment laws because of the coronavirus.

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