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The information provided in this blog is intended for general information purposes only. Readers should seek the help of an HR professional for guidance on specific issues.

Back to Work – Employee Safety Concerns on Returning to Work 

Posted by on 12:24 pm in News and Features | Comments Off on Back to Work – Employee Safety Concerns on Returning to Work 

Get ready to have new policies in place and answer employee questions  

Your employees may have many questions and concerns after returning to work. It is your job, as the employer, to address these questions and concerns regarding employees’ health and safety as we face COVID-19. Below is a probable list of questions employees may ask as you reopen your business.

  • Do I have to return to work? 
  • What steps will you take to keep me safe? 
  • Will you implement social distancing between co-workers? 
  • Will you take mine and my co-worker’s temperatures daily? 
  • Will everyone be required to wear a mask and gloves? 
  • Will you provide masks and gloves? 
  • How often are you cleaning the workplace?  
  • How will you protect me from customers that might put me at risk? 
  • What if a co-worker gets sick? How will I know?  
  • What do I do if I know my co-work actively abuses safety practices at work or in their personal lives, putting me and others at risk? 
  • What happens if I get sick? Will I get paid for time off?  
  • What if someone in my family gets sick and I have to care for them? 

 

These questions may require new company policies 

While no two businesses are alike, and despite the fact that the business community has never dealt with a challenge like this, there are still guidelines and labor laws that apply to these situations. Here are the recommended steps your company can take to prepare for and welcome your returning workforce: 

 

Step 1: Gather your Management Team and discuss your COVID-19 “Return to Work” policies. Create a special section in your employee handbook called, “Public Health Emergency Work Policies as Related to COVID-19.” 

 

Step 2: Create a list of current policies that pertain to this topic, such as your companys existing sick leave, medical leave and other policies as they relate to health and time off. Many of these policies are still applicable to situations regarding COVID-19.  

 

Step 3: Review and incorporate new COVID-19 related laws from your state and county into a safety plan and policy. If you do business within Oregon please visit https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19/ to review requirements for your business-type, as well as requirements based on the county level. If you conduct business within California please visit https://covid19.ca.gov/ to review requirements for your business-type, reopening plan if applicable, as well as requirements based at the county level.   

Safety practices are contingent on employer-type. Masks are mandatory if you are open to the public, but in an office, they may only be required if you cannot socially distance yourselves from co-workers. Most businesses will need to customize their safety plan and policies based on their unique work process, contact with the public, workspace, etc.  

 

Step 4: Designate someone who your employees know they can communicate with, regarding any COVID-19 related situation.  Make this person available to all staff while informing them that all communication will be considered private and confidential and is protected by privacy laws.  

 

Step 5:  Communicate your policies in multiple ways to your staff before and after they return to work.  Consider scheduling mandatory [paid] Zoom meetings concerning these updated “Return to Work” policies before employees return to the actual job site. Repeat this information to employees through additional emails, handouts, or letters. Post these special policies on your internal intranet or employee-only website as well.  

Once employees return to work, schedule onsite meetings to discuss implementation of these new policies. To further enforce them, make sure to use a face covering and practice social distancing. Failure to do so has resulted in employees contacting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA has been responding to these concerns aggressively.  

 

Are you ready to answer employee questions or develop new policies—overwhelmed by this looming task? Let Cardinal Services help you! Cardinal has the expertise in place to help you update your policies to address this public health emergency. Our HR Specialists are ready to help you craft new policies and procedures that are compliant with state and federal labor laws—for “normal” times and during these extraordinary challenging times. We have a dedicated webpage of COVID-related information, links and resources for employers. We’re here to help. Call us now!  800.342.4742. 

 

 

 

 

TELEWORKING: Productivity tips for working remotely.

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During this challenging time, employees are now being asked to work from home. Here’s a list of tips that can help both employers and employees be more productive when working remotely.

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Temporary Revised Requirements for Form I-9 “In-Person” Documentation

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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that it will defer the requirements for employers to review Form I-9 documents in-person with new employees, due to the COVID-19 emergency. Here are the temporary, revised requirements:

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Benefits for California Workers Impacted by COVID-19

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Benefits for California Workers Impacted by COVID-19

https://www.labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019/

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2020 California Labor Law Update Labor Laws that Impact Employers

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Sequoia Personnel is ready to offer HR guidance in navigating these legal changes. Please reach out to us for more information. When you employ through Cardinal, you work with a firm who is prepared to help keep you compliant.

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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Posted by on 1:28 pm in News and Features | Comments Off on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Here are some “safe practices” that can help you and your employees

Sequoia Personnel Services acknowledges the worry and the many questions on employers’ minds with the arrival of the Coronavirus in the Pacific Northwest. We want to share some best practices that can help you and your employees during this ongoing health challenge.

 

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Rules on “Safe Workplace”

Under OSHA, employers do have a responsibility to maintain a safe workplace, but at this time, the risk of exposure for the average worker is relatively low. Though many employees may feel uneasy about coming to work or working with the public, a few essential precautions and an open communication policy at your company can go a long way to easing fears.  

 

Call-In and Attendance Policies

Review your procedures for calling in sick or unplanned absences. Review these procedures with your staff and your managers so that they can review these with their work crews. It is crucial for every employee to know the company’s sick, vacation, or paid time off (PTO) policies, and managers should be prepared to answer questions from your staff.

Keep in mind, employees requesting time off for illness, may have some job protections under other Federal or State Leave Laws such as the Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA), California Paid Family Leave (PFL), California Family Rights Act (CRFA), or even the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Generally, however, an employee is not entitled to these protected leaves if staying home just to avoid getting sick.

 

Flu/Infectious Disease Best Practices
  • Encourage sick employees to stay home
  • You may legally send sick employees home
  • Wash hands frequently with soap & water (20 seconds)
  • Have an alcohol-based hand sanitizer available
  • Avoid close contact with people that are sick
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and face
  • Cover mouth when coughing or sneezing with a tissue—then wash hands!
  • Increase workplace cleaning frequency—disinfect frequently touched items and surfaces, including counters, doorknobs, break-rooms, kitchens, and restrooms
  • Offer virtual webinars or conference calls instead of in-person meetings, if feasible
  • Stay current with local and national health agency recommendations
  • Limit travel to affected areas
  • Consider offering telework, i.e., working remotely to potentially exposed employees during the incubation period

 

Mitigate Your Litigation Risk
  • Remember, all medical information must be treated as confidential. Remind your staff of this as well.
  • If an employer would like an employee who has been exposed to stay home (even though the employee is not exhibiting symptoms), pay the employee applicable sick leave or PTO while they are required to stay home.

 

Company Proactive Steps

Crafting and sending out a company-wide memo can help clarify questions and allay fears. This communique should include a reminder on safe infectious disease-avoidance practices, call-in protocols, sick-leave, and other information that is appropriate to your company, your location, or your industry.

 

Call Sequoia Personnel – We’re Here to Help

If you have any questions or concerns on how to handle this public health challenge, please contact the HR Specialists at SPS. We can advise you on how to proceed with your company communications and review your policies that apply to this situation.

FEDS TIGHTEN I-9 REQUIREMENTS & ADD NEW FORM

Posted by on 9:38 am in News and Features | Comments Off on FEDS TIGHTEN I-9 REQUIREMENTS & ADD NEW FORM

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services releases new I-9 Form – Employers must begin using it by May 1, 2020.

 

EMPLOYERS USING OUTDATED I-9 FORMS RISK COSTLY VIOLATIONS

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have released a new Form I-9, and employers must begin using it by May 1, 2020. Employers may continue to use the previous form through the deadline, but for convenience, employers may begin using the new form now. To stay compliant, you may download the new form directly from USCIS’ website.

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