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Employee Health

Chefs washing hands

In a recent CDC study, 12% of food workers said they had worked when they were sick with vomiting or diarrhea. Sick employees or poor personal hygiene issues are, in fact, a leading cause of foodborne outbreaks. No one wants to cause an outbreak!

An Employee Health Policy is required by NC Food Code

Food workers must NOT be sick while preparing food. Sick employees must let their managers know when they are sick to avoid spreading infections to diners and other staff. Developing an employee health policy that requires staff to let managers know about their illness is an essential step to preventing outbreaks.

Developing an employee health policy – where to start?
  1. Talk to your employees about the importance of not working when they are sick. Upon hiring, we recommended that you discuss the importance of employee health and hygiene with new hires. You may use Form 1-A as a guide to have this conversation.
  2. After talking with employees (or conditional employees) about the importance of NOT being sick on the job, ask them to complete Form 1-B. Form 1 - B satisfies the North Carolina requirement for health policy. Keep these records on file to show your health inspector during your routine health inspection.
  3. If an employee reports being sick, refer to the resources below to help you decide when he or she may return to work.  Use the following resources to help make that decision.
  4. Review the health policy with your staff each year, and have them sign a new policy.  Keep the signed agreements on file for your health inspector to review during your routine inspection.


Remember, employee health and hygiene is one of the major risk factors for causing foodborne illness.

More resources 

To learn more about the importance of food workers employee health and hygiene: