10 Critical Considerations for Employers Returning Employees to the Workplace

Employment Law Insider & Alert

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PUBLISHED ON: May 19, 2020

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The White House recently unveiled the “Opening Up America Again” guidelines on April 16, 2020, which include a three-phased approach for state and local officials to consider when reopening their economies and getting people back to work, while continuing to protect American lives. Many states have since reopened their economies, and many employers have reopened or are proposing to do so.

Employers, however, face unique and unprecedented challenges as they reopen their businesses. Below are 10 critical considerations for employers before determining whether employees should physically return to the workplace.

1. Communicate Reopening Plans with Employees and Stay Flexible

Initially, employers should communicate with their employees, and give advance notice of when they intend to reopen the workplace. In doing so, employers should consider whether and to what extent employees will be physically returning to the workplace, given the safety concerns.

Before deciding to reopen, employers should plan how and to what extent they will implement alterations to the workplace and workflow outlined in point three below.

Employers should be guided by local, state and federal guidelines as they develop their plan to reopen the workplace. They should keep abreast of any developments in those guidelines, and should remain flexible, particularly for employees who may be wary of physically returning to the workplace. Employers should also expand counseling available through existing employee assistance programs to help employees work through these issues, particularly if employees are...