In Employment Law, News

As the COVID 19 (aka coronavirus) continues to spread, employers should develop a plan in the event it is needed to protect employees and customers. This article relies on our employment experience and CDC recommendations. We encourage you to begin preparing with the following recommendations. Hopefully, drastic measures will not be needed but preparation now could keep your business running smoothly. Planning may also keep employee morale high knowing that you are taking this threat seriously and protecting your employees. 

Teleworking
Prepare for and encourage remote working. Identify the positions that can work remotely and begin preparing in advance to accommodate. You may need to utilize new software or technology that allows employees to stay home.

Cross-Train Employees
Some employees may be cross-trained to help with other tasks in the event employees need to stay home. This would allow your bookkeeper, for example, to help keep marketing deadlines met. 

Sick Employees Stay Home
Strongly encourage employees to stay home. This is a leadership narrative to make employees feel comfortable staying home if they are showing signs of sickness. 

Reduce Confined Work Spaces When Possible
Consider possibilities to reduce small space interactions of employees such as working outside or working in other areas of your office building. 

Cleaning and Sanitizing
Regular cleaning of your office space. Be sure all employees follow recommendations such as washing for a full 20 seconds (eg sing the happy birthday song). Minimize handshaking for the time being. 

Review Policies
Review your PTO and/or vacation/sick policies to ensure you are following them correctly. 

Communication
It’s always important on any matter to show leadership to your employees by effectively communicating with them. Done well, this instills confidence in you and prevents panic among employees. You can begin disseminating information to employees in a clear and effective way to show you are prepared to address the employees’ needs and protect them.

About the Author

Wesley Henderson is an employment attorney with Henderson & Henderson law firm in Charleston SC. He focuses on helping entrepreneurs navigate their legal environment, including helping employers make preparations and draft policies or other employment needs.

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