Employer’s Return to Work Checklist: Practices and Policies
Employers, as you plan for a safe return to work, there are several critical protocols and practices to consider. Below you will find a Return to Work (RTW) Checklist, created by the Kelley Drye Labor and Employment team, to help you navigate getting back to work effectively. If you have any questions or need more information, please contact Barbara Hoey and Mark Konkel.
PLANNING A SAFE AND EFFECTIVE RETURN: INITIAL STEPSIdentify a Return-to-Work (RTW) planning team or task force:
- Include key decision-makers
- Appoint a COVID officer to ensure compliance with polices and safety guidelines
- Develop a “tracking” program: how will your company monitor and ensure that key milestones are met, policies are actually implemented, and being followed?
- Which employees will return first?
- When they will return?
- What are the criteria for return?
- Who will, or will continue to, telework?
- What medical clearance will you require?
- Safety in the workplace
- Lower employee “density” in office
- Best office hygiene practices (social distancing, temperature checks, sanitizer, etc.)
- How to handle day-to-day safety logistics
- e.g., enforcing hygiene practices, handling sick employees in the workplace, and dealing with presence of third-parties on-site
- Who are the communicators?
- Train communicators on new policies, procedures—and especially how to handle questions
- Communicate new policies to employees (see below)
BEST PRACTICES FOR CREATING AND UPDATING COMPANY-WIDE POLICIES
KEY POLICIES FOR INITIAL RTWDevelop Employee Health Questionnaire
- Require employee self-monitoring and reporting
- Address the “when” and “how” of how employees must disclose potential exposure
- Train screeners
- Ensure confidentiality of information gathered
- Workplace hygiene
- Social distancing
- Procedures for outside visitors (vendors, clients, couriers)
- Complaint reporting procedures
- Disability accommodation processes
- Harassment, discrimination, and retaliation
EXPOSURE IN THE WORKPLACE POLICIESEstablish a COVID-19 disclosure protocol
Direct sick employees to stay home
- Amend sick leave and PTO policies
Develop standard training plan for handling sick employees and exposure
- Cross-train supervisors and managers
LEAVE AND ACCOMMODATIONS POLICIESRevise existing sick leave and FMLA policies to reflect changes in state and federal legislation
- e.g., the FFCRA, which remains in effect until December 31, 2020
- e.g., work-from-home accommodation requests
TELEWORK POLICIESRevise or implement teleworking policies, including:
- Develop a standard for requests and approval of telework
- For those who are approved to telework:
- Develop standards for performance, hours, and expectations
- Publish standards for office setup and security protocols
- Amend disciplinary policies to address telework concerns
- e.g., Security violations, breach of confidentiality, and time theft
- Communicating with teleworking staff
- Monitoring and documenting performance
- Self-monitoring of COVID-19 symptoms
- Social distance
- Meeting limits
- Travel limitations
- Use of Sick leave and PTO
FOSTERING TRUST AND NEW EMPLOYEE BEHAVIORSCommunicate regularly with employees regarding the issues that matter:
- Safety practices
- Reporting employee concerns
- Policy amendments
- Updates on COVID-19 workplace matters
- e.g., telework request forms, FFCRA Notice, and time-keeping policies