Among weeks of conflict with local government officials, Tesla reopened its Fremont, California facility last week. The move originally came in defiance of a public health order — an act for which CEO Elon Musk said he was willing to be arrested. The company later sued Alameda County on the grounds that it cited Tesla was a non-essential business and must remain closed. After reopening, however, the company dropped its lawsuit on Wednesday, May 20.
Now, Tesla’s HR department told employees it is returning to “normal operations”, and as such they are subject to their regular attendance policy. According to a recent CNBC report, the company did offer workers the option to take unpaid leave from their positions until May 31 if they were concerned about exposing themselves or loved ones to coronavirus. Those who do come to work are receiving masks to workers, as well as temperature checks as they arrive at the factory.
Normally, the attendance policy assigns points to employees based on whether they take unapproved time off or if they arrive late to work. They receive 2 points for an absence and 1 point for tardiness, and upon amassing 5 to 6 points, they are terminated from their position. However, those who file paperwork with HR and seek approval for their concerns of contracting COVID-19 can receive unpaid time off without penalty through May 31.
Per the e-mail, which CNBC also posted, employees who have actually contracted COVID-19 are not subject to the attendance policy. Workman says, “If you are under Tesla-or doctor-directed quarantine, are sick with Covid (sic) symptoms, or have tested positive for Covid, you are not subject to the Attendance Policy and should continue to stay home.” Workers who do so should be entitled to COVID-19-specific paid leave.
Other major automakers, including Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler, also resumed production at their American plants this week.