Monday October 25, 2021
 

Coronavirus compliance: Sick leave guidance for employers

Firms are updating paid sick leave policies as the House introduced a bill that would mandate employers offer paid sick leave to their employees, both in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The push for federal paid sick leave legislation is getting stronger, as the quickly-spreading coronavirus has been designated a pandemic, causing concerns that workers who can’t afford to stay home will accelerate the spread of the virus at work.

“It’s a very difficult tightrope for employers,” said Littler attorney Michelle Barrett Falconer. “They want to take care of their employees, but the outbreak puts them in a very precarious situation and could close a business down.”

Federal, state regs

Presently, federal law doesn’t require employers to offer paid sick leave, though 12 states and Washington, D.C. have laws on the books. (Maine will join that list in 2021.) Thirty cities and localities, including San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia, also have paid sick leave.

Since the virus outbreak, Colorado has acted quickly to temporarily mandate certain employers in the state provide a small amount of paid sick leave to employees with flu-like symptoms while awaiting COVID-19 testing. For 30 days, employers in the leisure, hospitality, food service, child care, education and home healthcare industries must provide up to four days of paid sick leave.

Other states, including Kentucky, have introduced such emergency bills, while Massachusetts has urged employers to offer paid leave to those stricken with the virus.

Arizona’s paid sick leave law, which was passed in 2017, could now become significant as the pandemic continues to spread. If a public health emergency’s declared, employers with as few as a single worker would be required to pay its employees.

The proposed federal bill is still being revised in the House before it moves to the Senate. The latest version of the bill would require employers with less than 500 employees to offer 14 paid sick days to a wide swath of workers affected by the pandemic, including those who are in quarantine or have children whose schools are closed.

And it would guarantee workers with the disease two-thirds of their salary for up to three months. The bill sets up a mechanism for the feds to reimburse employers who pay workers’ wages while they’re absent through a tax credit.

What employers should do

Many firms are updating their sick leave policies to keep staff at home to prevent the pandemic from spreading. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises firms to “ensure your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and employees are aware of these policies.”

Here are some immediate steps employers can take:

Consider revising sick leave policies. First, ensure company paid sick leave policies are consistent with state and local laws. Then consider extending or expanding sick leave, “perhaps adjusting benefits plans for employees who exceed their sick-day allotment in order to support sick employees who must stay home,” says law firm Littler Mendelson.

Employers may not be legally required to pay employees during this pandemic yet, however, choosing not to do so makes it more likely they’ll return to work prematurely, potentially infecting other employees.

Add more flexibility. The CDC recommends firms be flexible enough to allow workers who have symptoms or have potentially been exposed to the virus, but can’t work from home, to take time off from work.

You need to be really careful as an employer about thinking short term because this situation is likely to get worse before it gets better,” said Falconer.

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Post-pandemic, back-to-work compliance: New regs, policies

Now that some states are beginning to bring employees back to work after the coronavirus lockdown, employers need to be on top of their game with employee safety concerns and compliance with new regs.

Asking employees to return to work and providing a safe workplace for them will be challenging. Amidst layoffs, furloughs and emergency sick leaves, firms will have more safety, administrative and regulatory responsibilities.

Stay informed

It’s key that employers continue to follow guidance and safety orders from state and local governments, as well as federal agencies, including:

CDC: The agency continues to update its guidance for employers on its website and has also drafted proposed guidelines for a phased reopening, which will be available soon.

OSHA: The agency recently issued Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, a 35-page guide for employers to consult when preparing workplaces for employees to return. OSHA recommends employers designate one person to serve as the workplace coronavirus coordinator to address employee concerns and track employees with the virus.

The new OSHA guide includes protective measures, such as limiting the number of employees in offices, staggering arrival and departure times, and installing barriers for meetings.

EEOC: In a recent update, the EEOC issued guidance for employers on a variety of topics. They include reasonable coronavirus-related accommodations as defined by the ADA, hiring and onboarding concerns such as screening for the coronavirus symptoms, and pandemic-related harassment, which may require training for supervisors and managers.

Some employees will be hesitant to return to work for safety concerns unless granted an accommodation. Employers may need to allow them to work remotely longer or install barriers to ensure distances from
co-workers if feasible, says the EEOC.

DOL: The agency has issued a poster that’ll fulfill employers’ notice requirements under the FFCRA. The poster must be displayed on the premises.

Sick leave laws

Employers need to review their existing policies, ensuring compliance with all newly enacted sick leave laws.

First, check that your policies are consistent with the new coronavirus FFCRA law, which became effective April 1, 2020. This law includes the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency FMLA Expansion Act, both of which will need to be tracked.

“In some state or local jurisdictions, benefits such as extended family leave to employees would be available to the extent they are greater than federal benefits,” says Carlos Ledo, human resource consultant, Engage PEO.

In addition, it’s likely more and more states will provide paid sick leave, as the new emergency leave laws are set to expire at the end of 2020.

New policies

By examining their policies, employers can ensure compliance with new laws, as well as develop new policies for:

Coronavirus reporting – Firms need to develop clear policies for coronavirus reporting when someone begins experiencing symptoms.

Remote work – Since some staff will continue to work remotely, firms need to consider interim policies to address employee technology expenses (Wi-Fi, cell phone use, etc.).

“It’s imperative that employers stay on top of the latest guidance as it’s changing constantly, including industry-specific rules that may apply,” says Vanessa Matsis-McCready, director of human resources, Engage PEO.

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COVID-19: EEOC issues new guidelines

What can employers ask workers and disclose to them about the coronavirus? The EEOC recently hosted a webinar offering much-needed guidelines to employers on a host of topics that are upending businesses as they navigate through the pandemic.

Making inquiries

In line with the EEOC’s online guidance, which was issued in March, the agency emphasized employers may ask employees if they have COVID-19 or if they have symptoms of the virus.

Temperature checks: Employers can take employees’ temperatures during the pandemic, as long as they establish a consistent process for the procedure.

Families off limits: It’s best practice to only ask if an employee has had contact with anyone with the virus and avoid asking specifically about a worker’s family. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) prohibits firms from requesting such info.

Sending employees home: If an employee refuses to answer questions related to the virus or to have their temperature taken, they can be barred from the workplace since their presence would pose a “direct threat to health or safety,” said EEOC Attorney Sharon Rennert.

Disclosing employees’ exposure

Firms need to inform staffers if a staffer has or has been exposed to the coronavirus, without identifying the person. But the employer needs to get a list of people with whom the infected employee has had contact, so they can inform them directly.

Keep it confidential: The afflicted employee’s identity should only be shared with a few key people within the firm, “making every effort to limit the number of people who get to know the name,” says EEOC Attorney Jeanne Goldberg. Otherwise, firms could possibly run afoul of the ADA.

Granting accommodations

The EEOC is uncertain at this time whether COVID-19 is a disability under the ADA, which would normally require employers to provide reasonable accommodations. But the agency has asked that employers give requests their prompt attention.

Wearing a face mask: If wearing a mask is the only accommodation that’ll sufficiently reduce any threat to the employee, employers are obligated to allow it unless it would interfere with the person’s ability to perform an essential job function.

Working from home: Firms aren’t obligated to grant a WFH accommodation unless employees are at greater risk of COVID-19 due to preexisting disabilities, are pregnant or are over 65. But they need to treat such requests as they normally would through the interactive process.

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Coronavirus: Staying safe, compliant with federal regs

Employers have been quick to take preventive measures – imposing sharp restrictions on travel, canceling conferences and instructing employees to work at home – during the coronavirus outbreak. But it’s critical for employers to stay compliant with the CDC, ADA, EEOC, HIPAA and FMLA in the face of the new illness, especially when it comes to federal employment regs.

Federal laws, agencies

Here’s how to put employees’ health first while still protecting your firm.

CDC: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises employers to implement heightened hygienic practices and workplace cleanings. The CDC also recommends employers replace in-person meetings with video or telephone conferences.

The CDC’s list of considerations also includes using “social distancing” techniques, such as working remotely or 6 feet apart for those who still need to work onsite.

ADA: While the coronavirus is typically a temporary illness and not a “disability” under the ADA, employers need to use caution when making employee inquiries.

Employers are allowed to ask questions relating to an employee’s exposure to the virus if they pose a “direct threat” under the ADA. To determine this risk, employers can inquire about the duration of the risk, the severity of the potential harm and the likelihood the harm will occur. If the threat seems imminent, employers can request the employee submit to a medical exam.

EEOC: The agency has issued guidance for employers on the impact of the outbreak, reminding them of steps to be taken to avoid violating the ADA. It also includes a number of examples employers may find useful as they navigate the coming weeks and months. For example, employers can send employees home if they’re experiencing virus-like symptoms.

HIPAA: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a bulletin to clarify HIPAA’s privacy rules during the coronavirus outbreak. The “basic requirements of HIPAA still apply even in a public health emergency,” says Mintz Levin attorney Kristen Marotta. However, disclosures are allowed for treatment, for public health activities and to prevent a “serious and imminent threat,” says the bulletin.

FMLA: Since employees can’t use their 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave unless they have a serious health condition, an employee’s fear of contracting the virus wouldn’t quality for FMLA. However, they’re permitted to take the leave to care for a family member.

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Avoiding COVID-19 lawsuits and reputational damage as employees return to work

As organizations of all kinds prepare to reopen facilities and bring employees back onsite as the COVID-19 crisis eases, HR pros need to be ready to advise leadership of both potential legal risks and how to protect against long-term damage to their reputation.

And there is one risk factor that many executives, and even legal
counsel, are not yet thinking about – states and local governments are taking a
larger role in protecting workers from the coronavirus with new rules and
acting on their behalf in other, non-regulatory, ways as well.

As detailed in a recent paper for the Harvard Law School’s National Employment Law Project (NELP), state and local governments are now examining how they can safeguard workers in their jurisdictions with COVID-19 exposure protection rules that go beyond federal laws and regulatory standards.

COVID-19 safety naming and shaming

For example, in addition to actively enforcing state laws, especially in high-risk industries, state government agencies may begin collaborating with worker organizations and publicizing enforcement actions to “name and shame” employers who don’t adequately protect workers from the coronavirus.

Employers should also expect active efforts to publicize and enforce any state and local requirements for updating COVID-19-related safety plans and creating employer/employee safety committees.

Increased whistleblower protections for workers who report unsafe conditions due to poor coronavirus protections are also likely in many states.

Employers may also face COVID-19-related public nuisance lawsuits.

The NELP report states, “In April, two public interest law
organizations filed suit … based on the risk of community spread of COVID-19
resulting from the companies’ failure to comply with CDC guidelines in their
plants. The lawsuit sought no money damages, only safer working conditions.”

The suits were dismissed on procedural grounds, but the publicity forced coronavirus protection changes at the plants.

States using soft powers to protect workers from coronavirus

In addition to tracking any new local and state-level coronavirus safety rules, however, employers need to be aware that states are also examining whether to use “soft powers” to help improve workplace safety:

The report details potential government interventions that employers
should anticipate, including:

  • Helping with informal mediation to improve conditions in unsafe workplaces;
  • Educating workers, employers, and the general public about applicable laws and measures for workplace safety;
  • Disclosing information about employers who are endangering workers and the public, so that customers and others can be aware of this conduct;
  • Convening stakeholders, including employers, workers, or their representatives, to strategize about how to create safe workplaces;
  • Collaborating closely with worker organizations, like unions, worker centers, and others.

Getting ahead of the curve

For all employers, the best way to avoid both legal and
reputational risks related to COVID-19 is to understand and implement worker and
customer protection best practices.

That is also the best way to keep your employees focused and productive as they navigate a fresh set of challenges around returning to work while the coronavirus crisis continues impacting their personal lives with closed daycares and schools, drops in household income and other challenges.

One possible positive outcome for HR? A chance to show your partners, clients and prospective recruits that you are who they want to do business with.

By publicizing that your organization is doing everything you can to protect workers and customers from the coronavirus – and highlighting the positive impact that’s having on your ability to keep your business moving through the COVID-19 crisis – you can boost your reputation as an employer, increase awareness among potential clients and partners, and help secure future growth and success.

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5 keys to caring personally while challenging directly

Balancing between caring
personally and challenging colleagues directly during the pandemic is more
important than ever, as many employees find themselves being informal
coaches/mentors for one another.

We’re listening to “ZOOMed” stories
that can be hard to hear and responding to emotions that are hard to witness.

To keep your workplace resilient, it’s important to elevate your approach to employee communication by focusing on all the good things happening across your business.

Here are five ways to give employees the tools they need to support their clients, teams and themselves during this difficult and unprecedented time.

Don’t withhold information

It’s tempting when you’re
exhausted or uncomfortable to avoid telling people what they need to know,
however, this isn’t good for anyone. The people I have spoken with who are the
least stressed about their work situations are those whose bosses have been
clear about the state of the company and have shown a vested interest in their
employees’ wellbeing. One of the best ways to show that you care personally
about your employees is to be honest with them about things that affect
them. 

It’s important to recognize
that being the boss can be exhausting during the best of times, and during
times of crisis, it can feel downright paralyzing. But, when you do have
information that affects your team, commit to delivering it as soon as possible
in a way that’s kind and clear. For example, if you know you’re going to be
laying people off, tell them as soon as you can, on a video call, and commit to
checking in with them after they’ve left the company to see how they’re doing.

Give everyone a voice

Be conscious of how much time
you are talking versus other people in meetings when you work from home. If
you’re taking up more than your fair share of time, try to be more quiet. If
you are not speaking up, remember that it is an act of generosity to share what
you are thinking. If you are leading the meeting, consider occasionally just
going person by person in alphabetical order.

According to research from Google’s
Project Aristotle, teams that speak roughly an equal amount of time perform
better than teams where one person takes up all the airtime. If you find that
some people are dominating meetings and others don’t make a peep, change the
way you run the meeting. Start by checking in with everyone to give them a
chance to talk, then ask people what they think by name throughout the meeting.

Ask what can be done better

Most people in the workforce
today have never lived through a pandemic, so it can be hard to know what
you’re getting right and what you’re getting wrong. Ask your team to tell you.
Start by saying something like, “What’s something I can do to make things
easier for you?” or “What’s something I am doing during this crisis that’s
making things more difficult for you?”

You might be met with silence.
Fight the urge to speak first. Count to seven and commit to allowing the other
person to speak first. When it’s clear you’re not going to break the silence,
the other person will speak up to fill the silence.

It will be easier for them to
say something than to say nothing. Once the person starts talking, listen with
the Intent to understand versus to respond. When they’re finished speaking,
check for understanding.

You can say something like,
“So what I hear you saying is…” Repeat back to them the issues they have
raised, as you understand them. Ask, “Do I have that right?” 

Finally, you want to Reward
the Candor in a way that’s specific and sincere. First, thank them for the
criticism. If you agree with the criticism, make visible changes based on the
feedback. If the change is hard or will take some time, show them you’re
working toward it. If you disagree with the criticism, try finding something
they’ve said that you do agree with and point it out. Offer your full,
respectful explanation of why you disagree with their other statements. This is
a way to reward their feedback and gives them an opportunity to consider your
perspective.

Following these steps will
help you create a culture of Psychological Safety where people will feel
comfortable raising important issues not only during a crisis, but every day..

Take a break

All over the world, leaders
are being called upon to listen to stories that are hard to hear and to respond
to emotions that are hard to witness. Showing compassion is real work, and,
like all real work, it is equal parts rewarding and taxing. 

Caring for others starts with
caring for yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re feeling burned out. Give
yourself the break you need. You can’t possibly Care Personally about others if
you’re running on empty.

‘Release judgment’

If you’re having a difficult
time with your boss or a peer and you’re feeling frustrated before a
conversation, my Radical Candor co-founder Jason Rosoff gave me this advice:
release judgment.

Go into each situation
assuming good intent versus that the other person wants to cause you harm.
Things are difficult for everyone right now and many people don’t realize how
their behavior might affect others. This is why Radical Candor is so important.
It allows you to deliver feedback in a way that’s kind, clear, and non-judgmental.

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Survey Monkey: Employee satisfaction is up – a smidge

CNBC and SurveyMonkey together polled over
9,000 workers in the U.S. to measure the impacts of COVID-19 on employee
satisfaction. Nearly half of all respondents (48%) noted they are currently
doing their jobs remotely. Among all workers—working at home or not—the latest
results show an uptick in employee happiness: the survey’s Workforce Happiness
Index is an optimistic 73 out of 100 as of May 2020, ticking up from 71 last
year.

 As states and businesses begin to reopen, the
survey provides insights on how America’s workforce feels about the way their
employers are handling the crisis and preparing to keep them safe, engaged, and
effective on the job. While workers express they are happier than they were
before the pandemic, they also say their jobs have gotten harder.

Key findings from the May 2020 CNBC/SurveyMonkey Workforce Survey include:

  • Sentiment among all workers:
    • Over half (54%) of all workers surveyed say it has
      gotten “somewhat harder” or “much harder” to do their job effectively
      compared with before the coronavirus outbreak.
      • The perceived hardship does not differ by gender,
        age, or whether workers have been able to work remotely in recent weeks.
      • Those in positions of greater responsibility (VP and
        higher) are more likely to say work has gotten “much harder.”
    • Still, happiness across a number of dimensions is up:
      • 54% of workers say they are “very satisfied” with their
        job, up from 47% the last time the survey was given (December 2019.).
      • By a better than three-to-one margin (38% to 11%)
        more workers indicate that they are happier in their role since the
        pandemic started than say they now wish they had a different job. 
  • Sentiment among remote workers:
    • 44% of those working remotely are happier to have
      their job now than they were before the outbreak.
    • 88% are confident that their organization’s leadership
      is making the right business decisions to manage through the current
      environment.
    • 18% have considered quitting their job in the last
      three months.
    • 38% say they would like to work from home more often
      than they used to once things are safe again. Another 19% want to
      continue working from home all the time. These numbers are pretty much
      equal across all age groups. 
  • Sentiment among non-remote workers:
    • 32% are happier to have their job now than they were
      before the outbreak.
    • 79% are confident their organization’s leadership is
      making the right business decisions to manage through the current
      environment.
    • 22% have considered quitting their job in the last
      three months.
    • 75% say they’ve felt safe going to work during the
      pandemic.
    • 80% are satisfied with measures their company has put
      in place to keep them safe at work.

Job satisfaction is up but there is also
widespread anxiety among those with jobs today,” said Jon Cohen, SurveyMonkey’s
chief research officer. “Fully 44 percent of workers report being worried that
they’ll lose a job or have their hours cut in the weeks ahead, with concern
spiking to about six in 10 among Hispanic and Asian workers.” 

 To download the CNBC|SurveyMonkey Workforce
Survey template to help measure employee job satisfaction at your organization,
go to: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/cnbc-surveymonkey-workforce-survey-template.
 

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Connecticut Return to Work Guidelines

For weeks, many states issued mandatory stay-at-home orders to help combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

The road to reopening Connecticut’s economy will likely require a phased-in approach that will consider hospitalization numbers, widespread COVID-19 testing and detailed tracking of infections in different regions, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has announced.

When Connecticut employers reopen and employees return to work, they are under strict guidelines to keep their people safe onsite. 

It’s a new world, really.

No more chats around the water cooler with co-workers, unless everyone stays six feet apart, wears a disposable mask and uses hand sanitizer — frequently.

“Leaders must provide government recommended provisions, such as masks, sanitizers and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as implement social distancing for the wellness and safety of on-site employees,” Deborah Alvord, Senior Director Analyst in Gartner’s Customer service and support practice.

Here’s are the essential steps Connecticut employers must take to assure their people can perform critical roles while staying healthy onsite:

Steps for Safeguarding On-site Employees

Hand-washing

Provide employees access to regular handwashing with soap, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes and ensure that common areas (including but not limited to break rooms, locker rooms, dining facilities, rest rooms, conference or training rooms) are cleaned on a regular basis, including between any shifts.

Provide Masks

Provide masks for employees to wear during their time at the business, and make it a mandatory requirement to wear masks while on the work site, except to the extent an employee is using break time to eat or drink, in accordance with the guidance from the Department of Health and the CDC.

Make Space

On-site employees should follow the social distancing six-feet rule and all other CDC guidelines while in the workplace.

No Visitors

Allow only necessary employees in the office. Restrict deliveries – from essential supplies like masks and hand sanitizer.

Meet Remotely

When onsite employees must meet – for shift huddles, brainstorming, etc. –use Zoom, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting and Skype For Business.

Redesign

Add partitions where needed and raise cubicle walls. Add plexiglass dividers in common areas, such as the break room, so people can still sit six feet apart and interact safely. In more open-space areas, such as manufacturing and warehousing facilities, mark six-foot positions with brightly colored duct tape so employees always have a sense of a safe distance to maintain from each other.

Make Sure Your Workplace Stays Compliant

In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, the Department of Labor issued the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This act requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or extended FMLA leave for reasons related to COVID-19.

The FFCRA poster must be posted in a conspicuous area. You can shop the required poster here:

  • 2020 FFCRA: Employer Paid Leave Requirements
  • 2020 FFCRA: Federal Employer Paid Leave Requirements

Additionally, Connecticut is required to post their specific labor law posters.

After COVID-19: Getting Your Business & People Back On-track
Tuesday, May 26th, 1PM | Live & On-Demand

Join our 60-minute program, led by Michelle Coussens, to learn how to restore business operations and help your team resume activities  – while leveraging recent lessons learned. We’ll discuss how to:

  • Restore business operations after full or part-time shut down
  • Transition your remote workers back on-site
  • Prepare for a potential resurgence of the virus or other potential crises
  • Incorporate lessons learned from the current crisis and keep the advances going

Sign up here.

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Maryland Return to Work Guidelines

For weeks, many states issued mandatory stay-at-home orders to help combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said the Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery plan is designed to get Maryland moving again as quickly as possible in a safe, gradual and effective way. No firm dates have been set.

Hogan has released a plan that outlines how to reopen the state in three stages and has estimated that the first phase could happen soon.

When Maryland employers do reopen and employees return to work, they are under strict guidelines to keep their people safe onsite. 

It’s a new world, really.

No more chats around the water cooler with co-workers, unless everyone stays six feet apart, wears a disposable mask and uses hand sanitizer — frequently.

“Leaders must provide government recommended provisions, such as masks, sanitizers and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as implement social distancing for the wellness and safety of on-site employees,” Deborah Alvord, Senior Director Analyst in Gartner’s Customer service and support practice.

Here are the essential steps Maryland employers must take to assure their people can perform critical roles while staying healthy onsite:

Steps for Safeguarding On-site Employees

Hand-washing

Provide employees access to regular handwashing with soap, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes and ensure that common areas (including but not limited to break rooms, locker rooms, dining facilities, rest rooms, conference or training rooms) are cleaned on a regular basis, including between any shifts.

Provide Masks

Provide masks for employees to wear during their time at the business, and make it a mandatory requirement to wear masks while on the work site, except to the extent an employee is using break time to eat or drink, in accordance with the guidance from the Department of Health and the CDC.

Make Space

On-site employees should follow the social distancing six-feet rule and all other CDC guidelines while in the workplace.

No Visitors

Allow only necessary employees in the office. Restrict deliveries – from essential supplies like masks and hand sanitizer.

Meet Remotely

When onsite employees must meet – for shift huddles, brainstorming, etc. –use Zoom, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting and Skype For Business.

Redesign

Add partitions where needed and raise cubicle walls. Add plexiglass dividers in common areas, such as the break room, so people can still sit six feet apart and interact safely. In more open-space areas, such as manufacturing and warehousing facilities, mark six-foot positions with brightly colored duct tape so employees always have a sense of a safe distance to maintain from each other.

Make Sure Your Workplace Stays Compliant

In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, the U.S. Department of Labor issued the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This act requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or extended FMLA leave for reasons related to COVID-19.

The FFCRA poster must be posted in a conspicuous area. You can shop the required poster here:

  • 2020 FFCRA: Employer Paid Leave Requirements
  • 2020 FFCRA: Federal Employer Paid Leave Requirements

Additionally, Maryland is required to post their specific labor law posters.

After COVID-19: Getting Your Business & People Back On-track
Tuesday, May 26th, 1PM | Live & On-Demand

Join our 60-minute program, led by Michelle Coussens, to learn how to restore business operations and help your team resume activities  – while leveraging recent lessons learned. We’ll discuss how to:

  • Restore business operations after full or part-time shut down
  • Transition your remote workers back on-site
  • Prepare for a potential resurgence of the virus or other potential crises
  • Incorporate lessons learned from the current crisis and keep the advances going

Sign up here.

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New Jersey Return to Work Guidelines

For weeks, many states issued mandatory stay-at-home orders to help combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s stay-at-home Executive Order, which has been in effect since March 21st, will remain in effect in its entirety until further notice. 

When New Jersey employers do reopen and employees return to work, they are under strict guidelines to keep their people safe onsite. 

It’s a new world, really.

No more chats around the water cooler with co-workers, unless everyone stays six feet apart, wears a disposable mask and uses hand sanitizer — frequently.

“Leaders must provide government recommended provisions, such as masks, sanitizers and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as implement social distancing for the wellness and safety of on-site employees,” Deborah Alvord, Senior Director Analyst in Gartner’s Customer service and support practice.

Here are the essential steps New Jersey employers must take to assure their people can perform critical roles while staying healthy onsite:

Steps for Safeguarding On-site Employees

Hand-washing

Provide employees access to regular handwashing with soap, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes and ensure that common areas (including but not limited to break rooms, locker rooms, dining facilities, rest rooms, conference or training rooms) are cleaned on a regular basis, including between any shifts.

Provide Masks

Provide masks for employees to wear during their time at the business, and make it a mandatory requirement to wear masks while on the work site, except to the extent an employee is using break time to eat or drink, in accordance with the guidance from the Department of Health and the CDC.

Make Space

On-site employees should follow the social distancing six-feet rule and all other CDC guidelines while in the workplace.

No Visitors

Allow only necessary employees in the office. Restrict deliveries – from essential supplies like masks and hand sanitizer.

Meet Remotely

When onsite employees must meet – for shift huddles, brainstorming, etc. –use Zoom, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting and Skype For Business.

Redesign

Add partitions where needed and raise cubicle walls. Add plexiglass dividers in common areas, such as the break room, so people can still sit six feet apart and interact safely. In more open-space areas, such as manufacturing and warehousing facilities, mark six-foot positions with brightly colored duct tape so employees always have a sense of a safe distance to maintain from each other.

Make Sure Your Workplace Stays Compliant

In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, the U.S. Department of Labor issued the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This act requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or extended FMLA leave for reasons related to COVID-19.

The FFCRA poster must be posted in a conspicuous area. You can shop the required poster here:

  • 2020 FFCRA: Employer Paid Leave Requirements
  • 2020 FFCRA: Federal Employer Paid Leave Requirements

Additionally, New Jersey is required to post their specific labor law posters.

After COVID-19: Getting Your Business & People Back On-track
Tuesday, May 26th, 1PM | Live & On-Demand

Join our 60-minute program, led by Michelle Coussens, to learn how to restore business operations and help your team resume activities  – while leveraging recent lessons learned. 

We’ll discuss how to:

  • Restore business operations after full or part-time shut down
  • Transition your remote workers back on-site
  • Prepare for a potential resurgence of the virus or other potential crises
  • Incorporate lessons learned from the current crisis and keep the advances going

Sign up here.

The post New Jersey Return to Work Guidelines appeared first on HR Morning.

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