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
- 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.
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.