Keeping Current with COVID: Updating Your Employee Policies

Written By: Gus Lazares

You’re an employer trying your best to stay afloat during the chaos of COVID-19.  You have applied for your PPP loan, implemented CDC guidelines in the workplace, and checked the Graydon COVID-19 website regularly.  Your business has changed a lot, and now it is time to update your employee handbook and internal policies to reflect the changes.

So what updates do you need?  If you are an employer with less than 500 employees, then your employee handbook and policies should include updates about the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provisions regarding paid sick leave and expanded family medical leave.  The employee handbook should advise employees of their rights under these provisions and you should have a form for employees to complete when requesting Paid Sick Leave and/or Emergency FMLA.  Employers with fewer than 500 employees also need to post the Department of Labor’s poster regarding employee rights under the FFCRA.

As you screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms and perhaps take employee temperatures, you should have a health verification form on file document the steps taken to ensure compliance with government orders.  As always, documentation is crucial when it comes to your employees.

Last but not least, your policies should include a plan for what steps your business will take if (when) one of your employees contracts COVID-19 or is exhibiting symptoms associated with COVI-19.  The plan should prioritize the safety of all employees, and should include detailed steps for how your business will communicate critical news about COVID-19 in the workplace. While it would be nice if none of your employees or family members become infected with COVID-19, the odds are not in your favor. Best to be prepared with an action plan.

There is not a one-size-fits-all solution to the updates required for your business.  Every company has unique circumstances. Do you need help updating your employee handbook and policies to fit the COVID-19 world?  The attorneys at Graydon can help you prepare the necessary updates to responsibly start your business.  Call us today.