With COVID-19 still being a concern, companies are having to re-examine how they handle sick employees. Past practices regarding attendance or sick leave may not be ideal during a pandemic, particularly since the rate of positive cases is rapidly increasing.
To keep their workplace safe, companies need to handle sick employees the proper way. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are some best practices for a post-COVID-19 world.
Be Flexible and Trusting
While many companies are worried about maintaining full productivity, inflexible sick leave and attendance policies won’t work in this landscape. If employees feel they are putting their jobs at risk by being absent, the odds that an infected worker will come in for their shift go up dramatically.
It’s critical that ill employees, as well as those who may have been exposed but aren’t showing symptoms, feel they can safely take time off work. Additionally, they need to be able to do so before having an official diagnosis, as getting tested may be challenging, and receiving test results back can take time.
Further, requiring a note from a physician may not be practical. Many doctor’s offices could become overwhelmed with patients, especially if there is a resurgence, and employees may not be able to get an appointment. Additionally, it’s often best if an ill person does not seek out medical attention if it isn’t necessary, ensuring resources are available to those who may legitimately be experiencing a health crisis.
Companies need to trust that, if an employee says they are ill or have been exposed, they are being honest. In today’s climate, erring on the side of trust is the better approach, particularly when compared to a possible outbreak in the workplace. In fact, encouraging those who believe they are sick or may have been exposed is likely your best bet.
Follow Local Leave Laws
Leave laws can vary from one state or city to the next. Additionally, many areas passed new legislation specifically for COVID-19, creating rules that apply to companies operating in particular locations.
Make sure you are fully aware of all existing laws regarding the use and availability of leave. Additionally, if an employee is on leave, make sure you don’t require them to complete any work, as that may be a violation of the law or could qualify as retaliation or interference. That way, you can remain in compliance.
Apply Policies Consistently
If you have any policies regarding sick leave or whether ill employees can be sent home, you need to apply them consistently. Any action that could be deemed unfair or discriminatory has to be avoided. If there are policies in place, make them universal. Give every employee access to the same benefits and hold them to the same standards, ensuring every decision is based on equality.
Ultimately, COVID-19 creates challenges in all workplaces. By following the tips above, you can make sure you handle sick employees as correctly as possible.
If you’d like to learn more, the team at CPS Recruitment can help. Contact us today.