While many government pandemic programs and regulations have come to an end, COVID-19 continues to disrupt normal life in the workplace. The virus is still circulating in most of the country, which can cause COVID-related absences at work.

Even as the situation continues to change, it is critical that workplaces develop clear policies for sick days, family leave, and both voluntary and involuntary quarantine. Here are a few best practices for companies to adopt during this stage in the pandemic.

1. Develop firm policies surrounding COVID-19.

Confusion surrounding COVID-19 can hurt employee morale and can even put an employer in a position where they are liable for harm. Employers should develop clear rules for when employees should stay home and how COVID-19-related absences will be addressed. These rules should cover everything from employees who have COVID-19 or have been exposed to those who need to take leave to care for children in the event of a school closure.

2. Encourage sick employees to stay home.

Eager employees may want to continue coming to work, even if they don’t feel well. It’s important for employers to have a plan in place for addressing these situations. A potential COVID-19 outbreak at work can put other employees in danger. It also has the potential to trigger quarantine rules that could result in a short-term shortage of workers. Requiring employees to come in when they don’t feel well can also make companies liable if an outbreak were to occur.

3. Make employees aware of paid leave opportunities.

Many employees already qualify for paid sick leave and vacation. Employers should encourage workers to use this time to take care of pandemic-related issues like school closures or infection. Make sure that employees are aware of the options they have to reduce the financial burden of taking time off. This will help ensure that employees do not continue to work when they are sick.

4. Allow employees to work from home if possible.

Not every job can be done remotely, but companies that can allow for remote work should consider it. Work from home policies greatly reduce the chances of a workplace infection and can help employees deal with sudden household changes due to the pandemic.

5. Be flexible.

The key to any successful COVID-19 policy is to allow for flexibility. Employers should give employees options and allow room to adapt as situations change. Leniency will help keep employees safe and morale up.

We at LBMC Employment Partners are here to help your company develop policies to handle any situation. Contact us today!