Return to Work Post-COVID-19: FAQ
As the pandemic goes on and cases continue to decline, many organizations are taking precautions to best ensure the health and safety of their workforce while allowing them to return to in-person work. Many leaders are seeking answers regarding what they can, and cannot do in response to common return-to-work concerns. Both employees and employers have rights in this situation, and—as workers return to the workplace and organizations consider appropriate actions to keep everyone safe—conversations about those rights will be ongoing.
During this time, employees are prioritizing safety, and they likely won’t be afraid to address issues they feel may be a risk. As employees bring forward individual concerns, employers should review guidance as they respond to each unique situation. While, in some cases, employees may be protected under federal or local laws and guidelines, employers should be aware of what rights they also have.
Each organization will address its own set of concerns, though there are some common issues that many employers face. Some of these common issues fall into categories, including:
- Employees returning to work
- COVID-19 symptoms
- Employee testing
- Masks and face coverings
- Health conditions
- Workers’ compensation and hazard pay
- Federal and local guidance
Employers should be aware that federal, local, and state guidance changes frequently and should be monitored on an ongoing basis. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has provided COVID-19 resources, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers updated guidance for employers. Employers should be aware that these considerations will vary depending on the locality of a workplace. This FAQ serves as a general guide for employers regarding safety and workplace precautions as organizations prepare and implement return-to-work plans, and prepare to address these common concerns as employees return to the workplace.