Employers are watching developments carefully in order to get their workforce back on the job. When can your employees go back to the workplace? How do you best accommodate return to the workplace? What risks do you need to think about? How are you communicating with your associates? What guidance do you need?
Employers need guidance on COVID-19 testing. Companies are asking who should we test, when and how often should we test, what do we do with the results and, what kind of testing should we use?
Timing is key to weathering this storm. Are you offering essential services? What does your jurisdiction require? What are other employers in your area(s) doing?
Does your industry face special risks for transmitting the coronavirus? Do certain jobs in your company require special accommodations?
State by state; city by city: the recovery will need to be anticipated at all levels. Domestic operations, travel and international locations will need to be considered.
How do we prepare our workplaces for getting people safely back to work? What about people with certain medical conditions?
We know there's a lot of anxiety and uncertainty out there. How do we best communicate with our people about health risks they face and what we are doing to mitigate exposure.
This is uncharted territory with many health risks and compliance issues to anticipate. Many companies are recognizing the need for medical guidance to navigate the challenges ahead.
Interim Guidance from CDC and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The manufacturing work environment—production or assembly lines and other areas in busy plants where workers have close contact with coworkers and supervisors—may contribute substantially to workers’ potential exposures.
As workplaces consider re-opening it is particularly important to keep in mind that some workers are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. These vulnerable workers include individuals over age 65 and those with underlying medical conditions. Such underlying conditions include, but are not limited to, chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, hypertension, severe heart conditions, weakened immunity, severe obesity, diabetes, liver disease, and chronic kidney disease that requires dialysis. Vulnerable workers should be encouraged to self-identify, and employers should avoid making unnecessary medical inquiries. Employers should take particular care to reduce vulnerable workers’ risk of exposure to COVID-19, while making sure to be compliant with relevant ADA and ADEA regulations.
Based upon available information to date, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include:
People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including
Employers need to follow CDC’s and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance for reducing workplace exposure for all employees. All decisions about following these recommendations should be made in collaboration with local health officials and other State and local authorities who can help assess the current level of mitigation needed based on levels of COVID-19 community transmission and the capacities of the local public health and healthcare systems. In addition, specific industries may require more stringent safety precautions. Finally, there may be essential workplaces in which the recommended mitigation strategies are not feasible.
Before employees start returning to work onsite, employers need to define the new normal by creating or revising policies to address a range of critical workplace issues, including employee relations and benefits.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made a profound impact on the way we work and how businesses help their employees through unforeseen circumstances. Getting the right information can help you continue to adequately adjust to ongoing change, remain compliant with evolving state and federal laws – and above all else, help your employees.
Futurists and pundits are advising healthcare companies to look forward and not backward in a post-COVID-19 world. And then, boom… everything came to a screeching halt, agendas were put on hold, and budgets were frozen or suspended indefinitely.
Even in a white collar environment, workers are probably going to be required to wear masks. You can require them to bring their own, but employers should provide them to help keep everyone healthy — and in case it becomes a requirement to do so.
When U.S. mayors and governors eventually lift the social distancing orders they imposed to curb the coronavirus outbreak, reopening businesses likely won't be as simple as switching on the lights and welcoming employees back to their desks.
HR experts expect employers and employees to experience a new work world initially, and perhaps long term, rather than business as usual once the lethal pandemic abates.
Communicable diseases like coronavirus and the respiratory illness it causes, COVID-19, can bring a busy workforce to a standstill. Employers are responsible for the health and safety of their workers and customers, and part of that duty of care is to do your part to prevent and respond to infectious diseases in the community.
The European CDC publishes daily statistics on the COVID-19 pandemic. Not just for Europe, but for the entire world.
The European CDC collects and aggregates data from countries around the world. The most up-to-date data for any particular country is therefore typically earlier available via the national health agencies than via the ECDC.
WHO and its partners are constantly working to strengthen the chains of essential COVID-19 supplies. As global demand rises, WHO and its partners aim to ensure assistance to areas most in need.
2021 strategies for human capital, employee benefits, and risk management will require all of us to think differently and adapt. Some of what we can anticipate include:
This presentation offers a framework for human resource and benefits professionals to recalibrate the settings on their strategies and programs based on the new realities we face in our professional and personal lives.
Dr. Leopold is a well-regarded public speaker and thought leader in the employee benefits, workforce health and human capital arena. At a time when all of us are seeking to optimize our businesses in challenging times, the need for clear, visionary strategies has never been greater.
IBI reached out to health care and absence management professionals in its member community for employer guidance on managing the health and productivity of their workers, complying with current regulations, and preparing for emerging contingencies. Our summary of guidance for four key health and productivity areas—including critical areas where guidance is not yet widely available—is provided below. These areas and the guidance provided will be updated as more information is made available and as events further develop. Employers seeking detailed guidance are encouraged to consult the original resources or their current supplier partners.
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic raises many employee benefit and compensation considerations for employers. We examine key issues relating to COVID-19 and provide suggested strategies for employers to prepare for these issues. These are uncertain times, and we anticipate that we may need to revise our thinking or make additions to this list as additional guidance is issued.
Strong coronavirus measures today should only last a few weeks, there shouldn’t be a big peak of infections afterwards, and it can all be done for a reasonable cost to society, saving millions of lives along the way. If we don’t take these measures, tens of millions will be infected, many will die, along with anybody else that requires intensive care, because the healthcare system will have collapsed.
Johns Hopkins experts in global public health, infectious disease, and emergency preparedness have been at the forefront of the international response to COVID-19.