You've probably been inundated with COVID information by now and yes, I know it is changing all the time. So how do we keep up with it? Well, we can create generalized policies in our Company Handbook for a permanent policy for our employees to refer too.
As much as we can hope there will never be another pandemic, we also can’t predict the future. Unless of course, you can, then please chime in!
For now, let’s focus on a nationwide pandemic policy. We suggest adding something general in your Company Handbook that allows for changes without having to change the policy every time something comes up.
So, adding this specific policy will inform your employees that in case there is any nationwide pandemic upon us, they will understand that business decisions will be made according to federal, state, and local guidelines. Create a policy with your employees in mind. Let them know that their safety is of utmost importance and you will take every precaution necessary and within the guidelines given to keep them safe and out of harm's way.
During this time, if you have placed a COVID policy in place you can still utilize this but I highly suggest adding the pandemic policy as the heading and then COVID underneath of it as a subsection within that policy.
What we are trying to do here is create less work for you as the employer. Keeping it generalized will help reduce the number of questions every time a new guideline is placed at the federal, state, or local level.
Any changes that you make to your Company Handbook should always be sent out to your employees via email. They should keep informed that there has been a policy change or addition.
If sending it by email have them reply that they have received it or have them fill out an acknowledgment form to keep in their personnel file.
It is also important to keep in mind, and be open to the discussion of sick leave as well as remote work updates in your company's handbook. If an employee can work from home, let them. But establish rules and policies for working from home so that everyone is on the same page.
You might also want to consider being more lenient or adding certain special guidelines or a plan when it comes to sick leave and COVID. If someone in the office has been diagnosed with COVID, how can you work with them to make sure they aren't missing too much time off while keeping themselves and others safe?
These times they are a changin' according to good ol' Bob Dylan. He's not wrong. So make sure your company handbooks are up-to-date and your policies are in place for COVID-19.