Develop Workplace Flexibility & Protection Plan For COVID-19
By: Alexander Urchenko
Jun 10, 2021
COVID-19 has generated uncertainty for both businesses and employees. It is crucial that your workplace considers developing, implementing and communicating workplace policies and flexbilities resulting from COVID-19.
We have summarized OSHA's recommendations for what your workplace should consider implementing in order to ease employee uncertainty, decrease absenteeism, and create better health protocols. To review the full OSHA....guide click here(link).
Here's a Suggested Checklist for Your COVID-19 Workplace Flexibility and Protection Plan:
- Be vocal about encouraging your sick staff to stay home
- Create flexible sick leave policies that are consistent with public health guidelines and educate employees accordingly
- Do not require a healthcare provider's note for employees who are sick with respiratory illness to validate their illness
- Implement flexible policies that allow employees to stay home to care for a sick family member
- Respond to employee concerns about pay, leave, and workplace safety
- Provide insurance documents to employees to educate them on provider coverage if they are sick or if an outbreak occurs
Encourage Sick Employees to Stay Home
OSHA's first recommendation is to actively encourage and communicate that sick employees should stay home. You can review a list of COVID-19 symptoms in our (gsdfsdf) guide. Be active in communicating how COVID-19 is spread so that employees are frequently reminded that is safer to stay home if they begin to feel ill.
Create Flexible Sick Leave Policies That are Consistent with Public Health Guidelines
For the most current public health guidelines on COVID-19, you can visit the official CDC website here (link). OSHA recommends that you stay current with updated COVID-19 health guidelines in order to adjust your sick leave policy. Your employees should feel safe to stay home if they feel sick. Creating update sick leave policies and communicating them across your workplace will go far in terms of easing any stress or pressure employees may be experiencing.
Do Not Require a Healthcare Provider's Note for Employees Who are Sick with Respiratory Illness for Validation
OSHA addresses this by stating, "healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way." This is an important consideration and will depend on your area. OSHA also extends this recommendation for allowing employees to return to work. Review these policies with your risk management and human resource teams to create and communicate a clear policy throughout your workplace.
Have Provisions Allowing Employees to Stay Home to Care for Sick Family Members
OSHA suggests to recongize that your staff may need to stay home to care for sick family members or sick children. Create and communicate any new changes to employee sick leave or paid time off so that there is a clear understanding on how your workplace is addressing unexpected leave due to COVID-19.
Respond to Employee Concerns about Pay, Leave, and Workplace Safety
Because of the uncertainty COVID-19 is creating for workplaces and the global business climate, it is essential that you stay transparent with your workforce and address any concerns they may have about any changes in their income, paid leave policies, and general safety when at work. You may consider providing handouts educating your staff on COVID-19, or appropiate training so that they feel safe when coming into work. OSHA asserts that addressing these concerns transparently will create a more informed workforce less likely to be unecessarily absent.
Provide Insurance Documents to Employees to Educate them on Provider Coverage
As OSHA recommends, it is important to keep your workforce educated especially during COVID-19. Review and provide insurance policy updates for COVID-19 testing, coverage and doctor's visits. It is important that your staff understands how they can receive care if they feel sick, or what your workplace policies cover with respect to COVID-19.