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Should Employers Issue Travel Authorization Letters or Other Documentation to Employees?

April 6, 2020

On April 3, 2020, Alabama amended its previous orders and issued a statewide “Stay at Home” Order to provide further social distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  The Order, effective 5:00 p.m. on April 4, 2020 until 5:00 p.m. on April 30, 2020, provides, “every person is ordered to stay at his or her place of residence except as necessary to perform certain ‘essential activities.’”  Businesses should closely review the Order, which can be found here.

Based on exceptions in the Order, some individuals will continue to travel to and from work to perform essential functions. Under the Order, it is not mandatory that those individuals possess any specific documentation. Specifically, the Order states that operators of essential businesses and operations “may, but need not” issue credentials to employees verifying their status as an employee of an essential business or operation. Although documentation is not mandatory, essential businesses and operators should consider providing travel authorizations or other credentials to ease employee concerns that they may be stopped on the streets for being out of their home. The Order does not require the documentation to contain specific language.  However, some considerations include:

  • The name of the essential business or operation;
  • Reference to the “Stay at Home” Order deeming the employee essential to the business or operation and stating the employee’s exemption under the Order;
  • The essential work (including the need to perform minimum basic operations for non-essential businesses) of the employee and/or business; and
  • Contact information for someone who can quickly verify the individual’s travel purpose.

Again, providing employees this documentation is not mandatory, but it will likely be beneficial to ease employee’s already heightened concerns.

We are available to address your individual circumstances and questions.

Trip Umbach   205-868-6072 or

Alfred Perkins  205-868-6024 or

Breanna Young  205-868-6020 or

Keith Stephens  205-868-6047 or

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