The White House has issued new guidelines for employers preparing to reopen their workplaces.  While there is no date certain for businesses to reopen, employers can use these guidelines to develop new processes and procedures for ensuring worker safety and a smooth operational transition. Governor Newsom or local officials may develop additional or more restrictive mandates in addition to the federal guidelines.

Specifically, these new guidelines encourage employers to develop and implement policies regarding:

  • Social distancing and personal protective equipment;
  • Temperature checks;
  • Testing, isolating, and contact tracing;
  • Sanitation;
  • Use and disinfection of high traffic areas; and
  • Business travel

In addition to developing the above policies, employers should begin preparing for their “new normal” in anticipation of additional closures should COVID-19 cases surge in their communities.  While assessing what worked and what didn’t under the current California “Stay Home” orders, companies can look forward and examine some of their employment policies.  We recommend focusing on the below policies, which we have seen most impacted the past few weeks:

  • Attendance and Scheduling– Consider staggered schedules for social distancing or cost reduction measures and review call-in policies to ensure no reporting pay is triggered.
  • Paid time off and Sick Leave– Consider whether workers are accruing time off during non-working time, determine whether you want to make changes to accrual rates and eligibility, assess mandatory paid sick leave and adapt policies to incorporate emergency federal and state/municipal paid sick measures.
  • Family and Medical Leave– Consider updating this to include the new emergency leave provisions.
  • Confidentiality– Assess whether employees need additional or varied guidelines in maintaining the confidentiality of documents, meetings and other trade secrets.  Determine how best to protect information given the prevalence of zoom meetings and the likelihood that confidential information is resident in employee homes and more easily accessible to non-employees.

But don’t enforce those dress code policies–I think everyone has thoroughly enjoyed working in their cozy sweats!