- Kronos has unveiled an automated reporting tool that allows employers to identify and communicate with employees who may have come into contact with a co-worker who has tested positive or is presumed positive for COVID-19, according to an April 28 statement.
- The tool, which aids a process known as contact tracing, analyzes labor records and time and attendance data collected by Kronos solutions, the company said. According to a Kronos document, employers enter an employee's ID number, a date range and a location of interest, generating a report of potentially affected co-workers. No health-related information is required or used in compiling the report, Kronos said.
- The tool is available globally to customers of Kronos' Workforce Dimensions, Workforce Central, Workforce Ready and iSeries Central solutions at no additional cost.
Contact tracing has been heavily debated during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly with respect to advanced technology and its associated privacy implications.
Perhaps the most prominent of those is a partnership between Apple and Google, announced April 10. This solution involves Bluetooth-based technology that "would allow more individuals to participate, if they choose to opt in, as well as enable interaction with a broader ecosystem of apps and government health authorities," the companies said.
Apple and Google's solution has raised privacy concerns from various groups; some lawmakers and privacy advocates have questioned how the information collected by a contact-tracing app would be used, the Los Angeles Times reported April 26. Specifically, if that data is collected into a database, advocates said it risks the data being used by government and corporations after the pandemic, the report said.
But public health officials counter that contract tracing is "a key strategy for preventing further spread of COVID-19," according to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The agency addressed privacy concerns in its guidance, stating that contacts should only be informed that they may have been exposed to a patient with COVID-19 without being told the identity of the patient by whom they have been exposed.
Separately, the CDC has advised employers to inform employees of possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace in the event that an employee is confirmed to have the disease. Employers should still maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, CDC said, and should instruct employees on how to proceed in accordance with CDC guidelines.
Kronos, which recently announced a merger with human capital management vendor Ultimate Software, said in the statement that the two companies have added feature enhancements to their solutions during the pandemic, including those aimed at helping employers handle taxes, payments and leave-management related to recent legislation.
"Recognizing that contact tracing is key to reducing further spread of COVID-19 and ensuring appropriate care for anyone exposed, we have greatly simplified this complex process in the workplace for our customers so they can take rapid action to communicate to essential workers if notified of a presumed-positive case at their facility," Gregg Gordon, vice president, industry at Kronos, said in the statement. "Doing so may support critical efforts to minimize future spikes of the virus while helping organizations develop plans and protocols for their reopening."