Employer Guidance for Common Return-to-Work Concerns
In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many organizations are taking precautions to best ensure the health and safety of their workforce. As return-to-work plans are implemented, employees are also concerned about safety—and are often addressing concerns directly with their employers.
As organizations address new challenges, many are seeking answers regarding what they can, and cannot do in response to common return-to-work concerns. This article serves as a general guide for employers regarding safety and workplace precautions as organizations prepare and implement return-to-work plans, and prepare to address common concerns as employees return to the workplace.
Employee and Employer Rights
Both employees and employers have rights, and—as workers return to the workplace and organizations consider appropriate actions to keep everyone safe—conversations about those rights will be ongoing.
During this time, employees are prioritizing safety, and they won’t be afraid to address issues they feel may be a risk. As employees bring forward individual concerns, employers should review guidance as they respond to each unique situation. While, in some cases, employees may be protected under federal or local laws and guidelines, employers should be aware of what rights they also have.
Each organization will address their own set of concerns, though there are some common issues that many employers face. Some of these common issues fall into categories, including:
- Employees returning to work
- COVID-19 symptoms
- Employee testing
- Masks and face coverings
- Health conditions
- Workers’ compensation and hazard pay
- Federal and local guidance
Employers should be aware that federal, local and state guidance changes frequently and should be monitored on an ongoing basis. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has provided COVID-19 resources, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers updated guidance for employers.
Employers should be aware that these considerations will vary depending on the locality of a workplace. The guidelines provided in the questions and answers that follow are not legal advice, and employers should consult with legal counsel for guidance, and before changing or implementing policies.
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Combined HR Services provides practical human resources information and guidance based upon our experience in the industry and our experience with our clients. Combined HR Services are not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Combined HR Services are designed to provide general information to human resources and/or business professionals regarding human resources situations commonly encountered. Given the changing nature of federal, state and local legislation and the changing nature of court decisions, Combined HR Services cannot and will not guarantee that the information is completely current or accurate. Combined HR Services do not include or constitute legal, business, international, regulatory, insurance, tax or financial advice.