The COVID-19 Pandemic is causing employers to rethink their policies and procedures. Keeping your team safe and healthy is so important and updating your employee handbook is a good way to show your staff that you are taking the necessary steps to show that you truly care about their health and safety.
In this blog post we will go over several items that you may want to add to or update in your policies and procedures! For each of these items, consider how you will communicate, implement, and enforce these changes.
- Hand washing – Remind your employees of the importance in thorough hand washing and encourage them to wash their hands frequently.
- Respiratory etiquette – Encourage employees to cover their coughs or sneezes with either a tissues or elbow, not with their hands.
- Explain your expectations for how often workers are to be disinfecting their workspace.
- Determine which cleaning activities will be taken care of by the organization, and which ones will be the responsibility of the individual employee.
- Let your staff know what additional measures are being put in place to keep them safe from COVID-19.
- If applicable, outline any screening you plan to do with employees. An example of this would be taking employee temperatures before they enter the building.
- Also, explain your procedure for when an employee comes down with a fever at the workplace.
- Before implementing any health screening, be sure to consult a trusted attorney to review your plan with them, as this can be a sensitive issue.
Eliminating Unnecessary Gatherings and Close Contact
- Staggering breaks – A good way to support social distancing is to stagger when employees can take their breaks. Explain your expectations for this in your updated handbook.
- Avoiding shared food – Do not allow team members to bring in food from home to share. This is an easy way to avoid the spread of germs.
- Limit the number of people in meetings – If you typically have meetings in a specific space (i.e. conference room), set a limit to the amount of people that can be in a meeting at one time to allow for social distancing.
If someone encounters a person with COVID-19
- Decide what your procedure will be if one of your team members has come in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19. Allowing them to work from home for a period of time to see if they develop symptoms before returning to work is an option.
- Including travel guidelines for employees. For example, if an employee has traveled to an area with a COVID-19 outbreak, consider having them quarantine and work from home for 14 days before returning to the office.
- Monitor changing employee rights such as paid sick leave and expanded Family and Medical Leave Act under the Families First Coronavirus Act.
There are other things that you can and may add to your employee handbook as employees return to work after COVID-19. These are just a few that we wanted to share! Keeping your organization’s policies and procedures up to date and reviewing them regularly is a good risk management practice that we encourage! For more information on how you as an employer can make your workplace safe, the CDC and SHRM have excellent resources for all types of employers. If you have any questions about your organization’s risk management program, and how we can help, contact us!
Disclaimer: The information in this blog post is not to be taken as legal advice. Please consult an attorney before altering your organization’s policies and procedures. Also, guidelines related to COVID-19 are constantly changing, and the information here was based on the guidelines of when this post was written.
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