COVID-19 Reopening Safety Plans And Updating Employee Policies

The COVID-19 global pandemic has created additional health and safety considerations for employers, who as it is, already have a general duty to provide a safe working environment.

As businesses and employers prioritize the health, safety, and well-being of their employees and workers, their families, and the wider community, through updating and maintaining their required written Reopening Safety Plans, they are also focusing on disseminating written COVID-19-related workplace policies.

COVID-19 Considerations for the Workplace

Employers should implement new workplace policies such as:

  • Employee Temperature Checks and Health Screening Questionnaires
  • Employee Face Coverings
  • Social Distancing
  • COVID-19-Related Paid Leave
  • Emergency Family and Medical Leave

Employers should also consider updating existing policies, such as the following, in response to challenges they and their employees face due to COVID-19:

  • Disability Accommodations
  • Pregnancy Accommodations
  • Teleworking
  • Timekeeping
  • Office Visitors
  • Employee Travel
  • Vacation, Sick and Personal Leave
  • Bereavement Leave
  • Policies Related to Reporting Workplace Concerns

As employers see a rise in workplace complaints, both formal and informal, regarding workplace safety concerns, employers need also to address any current policies that may unreasonably prevent workers from expressing their criticisms.

While a company has a right to protect its reputation, company policies may go too far when prohibiting workers from criticizing the company to each other, potentially triggering claims stemming from alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act of 1935.

Moving Forward

While certain changes in COVID-19-related policies may only be temporary, others will be a part of our new normal. At this point, knowing which are here to stay is still unclear. Therefore, employers are advised to update and implement any policies that may be affected.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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