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Now Is a Great Time to Revise Your Workplace Sick Leave Policies

One impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is many companies are taking a close, hard look at their sick leave policies. The situation was unprecedented, and many existing policies weren’t equipped to deal with the uniqueness of the event, requiring significant reworks at a moment’s notice.

In fact, New York State recently created new sick leave laws that require private employers to offer 40 hours of sick leave each year. This law extends to all employees, temporary and full-time. These new laws guarantee New York employees the right to paid sick time when they are (or a family member is) ill. It also prevents employers from firing workers who use their sick time.

Now that the situation is a bit tempered, it’s a good idea to review your workplace sick leave policies again. That way, you can address important points you may have initially overlooked and make adjustments based on the possible resurgence that could be on the horizon.

If you want to make sure your workplace sick leave policies are in tip-top shape, and comply with the newest regulations, here are some tips that can help.

Handle Families First Coronavirus Response Act Updates

If your company is subject to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and adjustment to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that was passed into law in mid-March, now is the time to make sure your policies are compliant. The new law has specific provisions regarding being away from work due to COVID-19-related health events in particular situations. Additionally, there are paid sick leave obligations that may need addressing.

While many of the provisions focus on periods when state or federally ordered quarantines are in effect, the law is valid at least through the end of 2020. Since a resurgence is possible, it’s best to review the act and address the tenets appropriately in your policies, ensuring you are ready should the rules become relevant again.

Review Other State and Local Mandates

In a similar vein, your company may not be subject to various state and local mandates that went into effect due to the pandemic. If you didn’t formally discuss these in your policies before, it’s wise to review these new rules and see if you need to address them.

Generally, if a regulation is still in effect, you should update your policies accordingly. That way, there are formal procedures in place should the law become relevant at any point while it is valid.

Address Potential COVID-19 Scenarios

Even if you aren’t subject to any new laws or mandates, it is still wise to revise your workplace sick leave policies to account for a variety of potential COVID-19 scenarios. For example, you may need to cover a situation where an employee arrives at work with symptoms. At what point can management tell them to go home? If the employee is forced to leave, what options do they have for paid time off?

Similarly, you might want to discuss issues like using sick leave for unexpected school closures related to the virus. It’s also wise to cover instances of employees being voluntarily quarantined due to possible exposure either at work or outside the workplace, and similar possible events.

While you might not be able to predict every potential scenario that may involve using sick leave, it’s wise to identify as many reasonable ones as possible. That way, you can have a general plan of action for a range of circumstances, making it easier to adapt if something uncommon, but not entirely unanticipated, occurs.

If you’d like to learn more about updating your leave policies in response to the pandemic, the team at CPS Recruitment can help. Contact us today and see how our employee policy expertise can benefit you.

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