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It’s a top priority for many workplaces to get employees back into their buildings for in-person work. Employers may want to update preexisting policies or add new ones to conform to the current reality where employees are still dealing with the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Reevaluating policies now can help better transition employees back into the workplace later.
Some workplaces may have stand alone return-to-work policies that apply to employees temporarily unable to do their jobs due to illness or injury. Other policies may refer to the specifics of transitioning employees back to their regular position or alternative arrangements. In the wake of the pandemic, employers may consider revising return-to-work policies to include individuals who are unwilling or unable to return to in-person work due to COVID-19 fears.
Paid Time Off Policy
Paid time off (PTO) is one of the most important employee benefit offerings. This allows employees to take time off work for personal obligations or to recharge. PTO is sometimes separate from vacation time, with different restrictions as to when it can be used. Employers may choose to adapt their PTO policies to reflect the COVID-pandemic realities including expanding reasons to request PTO, changing how PTO is accrued, or adjusting how much PTO can be used in a certain time period.
With many people canceling their vacations and staying home due to COVID-19 last year, requesting time off for vacations may increase up this year. Employers may want to review their vacation policies (if separate from PTO policies) to ensure adequate operation coverage at all times.
Remote Work Policy
During the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work from home options expanded greatly. Employers and employees alike are looking for ways to retain these arrangements. Employers may want to explore how to adapt their current work policies to accommodate employees even after the COVID-19 pandemic ends. Policies may also be adapted to cover hybrid work situations, where employees work some in-person and remote hours.
Sick Leave Policy
Sick leave is another way for employees to take time away from work if they need it. During the pandemic, some employees were afforded guaranteed time away from work under specific circumstances. Employers may want to review their sick leave policies to ensure compliance with state and federal laws and continue to monitor official guidance as it’s released.
Certain positions may require travel for work. Some employers have adapted their travel policies during the pandemic to limit nonessential travel and specify precautions that employees should observe while traveling. This may include self-quarantining, COVID-19 tests, and other measures.
Each employer has their own policy when it comes to wearing masks. For those with a mask policy, they will need to consider whom the policy will apply to (employees and customers) and in which circumstances (within 6 feet of another person).
Workplace COVID-19 Safeguards Policy
During the pandemic, many workplaces have adopted policies specifically aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19. These included spacing out workstations, cleaning shared areas frequently, limiting building capacities, and enforcing social distancing requirements. Employers may wish to continue these policies to provide enhanced safety and peace of mind to employees.
Each workplace is unique, and workplace policies should adapt accordingly to what best fits their own situations.
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This blog is intended to be a compilation of information and resources pulled from federal, state, and local agencies. This is not intended to be legal advice. For up to the minute information and guidance on COVID-19, please follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and your local health organizations.
National Insurance Services is not a law firm and no opinion, suggestion, or recommendation of the firm or its employees shall constitute legal advice. Readers are advised to consult with their own attorney for a determination of their legal rights, responsibilities and liabilities, including the interpretation of any statute or regulation, or its application to the readers’ business activities.