From mask mandates to facility modifications to social distancing protocols to in-person meeting procedures to potential quarantine scenarios should an employee test positive for COVID-19, it’s imperative that you address workplace safety updates due to COVID-19 in your employee handbook. As employees will have various views and perspectives on these procedures, having a documented employee policy in your handbook will cover any misconceptions and unclear expectations.
Especially for employers moving forward to remote work, office capacity limits, and increased or decreased travel schedules, an update to attendance policies may be necessary. Your employee handbook should clearly outline attendance expectations in order to help employers who can’t monitor attendance remotely in the same way as they could in the office.
Taking vacation days, sick days, and paid time off (PTO) might become a bit more challenging for employees who are working from home. To avoid issues with potential burnout or work-life balance, it will be essential for employers to help clearly outline policies for taking time away from work. Additionally, employers with less than 500 employees should make sure employee handbooks and policies include updates about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), especially regarding paid sick leave and expanded family medical leave.
Culture and Values
COVID-19 has, without a doubt, affected the company culture and values of businesses in 2020. Thus, it might be a healthy practice to monitor and implement any necessary changes to your employee handbook’s workplace culture or values section. From communication styles to equal opportunity accommodations to conduct and behavior expectations, the opportunity to be clear, empathetic, and transparent has never been more important.
With careful consideration of various health and coverage needs, COVID-19’s impact on health coverage and employee benefits makes it necessary to update the benefits section of your employee handbook. As further developments surrounding COVID-19 are revealed, your policies may need to shift in line with general public health recommendations.