Practice and Policy Considerations for Return to Work

Female professional wearing a protective mask while back in the office

Michigan is among one of the states that extended its stay at home order well past the national average to combat the coronavirus. However, as businesses prepare for re-opening and employees return to work, there are some practices and policies to consider implementing. These best practices and policies can help deter legal issues and encourage employee well-being.


Extended Remote Work


For the businesses that have not opted for remote work, it should be known that 80% of employees would like to work from home.[1] Telework has many benefits for both employees and employers, such as reducing employee absenteeism, as well as improving employee health, morale, and retention. For those that have implemented remote work during stay-at-home orders, it is still recommended that individuals who are capable of working remote, should continue telework. Business should consider extending remote work options as they gradually re-open business.


Office Best Practices for Promoting Health and Safety


Implementing office best practices for promoting health and safety can help reduce employment practice claims, as well as establish transparency, trust, and confidence with your returning employees. Here are some of health and safety best practices for the office:


Physical distancing. The use of “social distancing” has been deterred due to the negative mental health connotation it carries. Incorporating physical distancing policies, such as staggering start times, allowing flexible work arrangements, and markers to indicate safe distances between individuals can assist with establishing safe physical distances between employees.


Temperature screenings. Many businesses have implemented temperature screenings for employees returning to work. This creates a precaution for early detection of COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever. The medical documentation of such screenings should be kept separate from individual personnel files, confidential except for authorized staff, and stored in a secure location.


Cleaning and sanitation. Utilizing face masks can be incorporated into the health practices and assist with reducing employee exposure. Common areas, door handles, desk spaces, and other frequently touched or exposed areas should be regularly sanitized. Posting reminders for adequate cleaning and sanitation practices, such as handwashing and cough and sneeze coverage, are also highly recommended.


Employee Leave Policies


Common employment practice claims include wage and hour, leave (FMLA), wrongful termination, and workplace health and safety. To reduce these claims, it is imperative that businesses take the time to review their policies and procedures regarding such issues and ensure they are in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations. If you’re not sure if a policy is within compliance, it is strongly advised to seek a consult from licensed legal counsel. It is also just as important to effectively and efficiently communicate any policy changes to employees, as well as promptly address any questions and concerns they may have.


A professional employer organization like Human Capital can assist you with your return-to-work policies and procedures. As an HR leader, Human Capital has a team of HR experts to assist with evaluating full-service HR solutions tailored to your business needs. We do our due diligence in staying up to date on all levels of compliance and keeping our client informed of any changes. For assistance with re-opening business and ensuring your return-to-work policies and procedures are up to par, please contact Human Capital today.


[1] Latest Work-At-Home/Telecommuting/Mobile Work/Remote Work Statistics

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