Reminders & Tips – COVID Related (Is there anything else right now?)

Good afternoon and Happy Hump Day!

 In my reading and webinar watching this week, I wanted to pass on  several reminders and suggestions related to efforts with COVID and keeping employees safe, as well as businesses.

There are a number of laws to consider during this unusual time of COVID and the liability they bring that could impact your business.  Those include:  OSHA, Title VII, ADA, FMLA, FLSA, and others depending on the number of employees you employ.  Every decision you make that touches the life of an employee brings with it risk at some level.

  1. Follow the protocols your company has established pertaining to COVID.  When you do, your risks are lessened. One protocol should be that you deeply clean the workplace periodically.  (You do have protocols in place, right?  😊)
  2. On the COVID health questionnaire you have your employees complete daily, be sure it notes before the signature something like, “I attest that this information is true.”
  3. Add to your employee Handbook a policy on how the company responds to a COVID incident.  (You do have a current Handbook, right?  😊)  And be sure you enforce the policy.
  4. Informing employees immediately of a positive in your workplace speaks to the integrity of management.  Remember, keep the employee name confidential.
  5. A COVID positive in the workplace is a recordable illness IF it can be defined as work related.  Be sure to interview the positive employee asking how he/she believes he/she contracted the disease.  Talk about work related and outside of work activities.  And document responses! From these answers, as well as seeing if this person is the first and only confirmed positive you have, may help you determine whether the case is a true recordable.
  6. Consider some changes to certain policies for COVID related incidents.  For example, working from home, leave policies, requiring doctors’ notes, and implementing a mask policy.  Some policies may need to be relaxed, more flexible, or extended to family members.  A mask policy should include the consequences of not wearing one.  And you might consider adding it to the job description’s essential functions, if social distancing is impossible.  (This last suggestion would apply to an ADA event.)
  7. Provide honest and compassionate communication…often–  to your employees.  Offer local resources for mental health & anxiety and tips for dealing with stress.
  8. Finally, as it relates to the tax credits for which employers may be eligible through paid sick leave and EFMLA through the FFCRA:
    1. You must have the required documentation that the IRS will expect should they come  knocking!  Employee name, leave dates, leave reason, AND a statement from the employee requesting the leave and why.
    2. If the employee has to isolate, you’ll need to note the entity/agency/medical provider  responsible for the order.
    3. If the employee cannot work due to child care, you’ll need the child’s name/age, the Caregiver’s name and address, and the employee’s statement that no one else is available.

I hope these reminders and tips are helpful.  If you have any questions about any of them, don’t hesitate to ask.  I’ll be happy to respond.  If I can be of assistance in writing a policy or updating job descriptions, a Handbook, or providing training related to this subject or any other HR related topic; give me a call or email me.

Have a great rest of the week!

Stay well!

DISCLAIMER:  The contents of this email is for informational purposes only and is confidential and intended for the recipient specified.  It is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.  You should contact your employment attorney to obtain legal advice with respect to any HR problem or issue.



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