The unfortunate COVID-19 pandemic has created many uncertainties and shifts in our everyday lives. Some of us continue to have our entire team work from home while others have some or all of our teams working on site. Regardless of where our teams physically are located, we have a responsibility as business owners and employers to ensure we protect employee health as best as we can while also keeping our businesses afloat.
Being proactive and creating a clear plan and sick policy is a necessity to ensure everyone is aware of how they’ll be supported in the event they do fall ill. Ensure that this policy is available to everyone and adheres to any local and federal laws. This way, you and your employees know what steps to take to keep everyone safe and to keep operations running while anyone is out.
Some things to clarify in your policy include:
- When employees should notify their manager
- Whether or not a note is required
- Whether remote work and/or a reduced schedule is an option
- How sick leave is treated during this time
- How sick leave applies to new employees
You should also keep in mind different laws, rights and entities that relate to employee privacy and safety when forming your policy. Here are a few to get familiar with:
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- Worker’s Compensation
- Other local laws specific to your area
In addition to a sick plan and policy, it’s also important to implement programs and other things that can help keep your employees safe and healthy.
If you have non-remote employees, it’s important to keep the workplace sanitary and to have cleaning supplies available to maintain cleanliness. It’s also important to maintain social distancing between employees in your office space. This could mean physically spacing desks farther apart and closing off lounge areas.
If you have remote employees, you should check in with them often to see how they’re handling themselves, especially if they were sent to work home due to a shelter-in-place (or similar) order. Encouraging them to go outside, take breaks and spend time connecting with coworkers are a couple ways to promote work-life balance while they may be stuck indoors longer than usual.
Overall, it’s important to remember that we’re in uncharted waters and everyone is dealing with the current situation in their own way. Approaching this time with compassion can help you navigate this period with your team. JW Surety Bonds has a list of tips to support employee health below. Take a look at the infographic below to see how you can encourage a healthy workplace for all employees.