Overnight, many businesses have been forced to adopt a new reality. In the face of a worldwide coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, thousands of companies have had to send employees home to work remotely or adjust attendance policies to accommodate extended hours, reduced hours or other circumstances.
You may be wondering how your company policies need to change to reflect these situations. Let’s take a look at some considerations for updating various policies such as remote working, attendance or paid leave during this complicated time.
Before COVID-19 hit, only about 3.6 percent (some 5 million people) in the United States worked at home half-time or more, according to Global Workplace Analytics. That number has increased dramatically in recent weeks. Yet, a 2018 survey by UPwork indicated that 57 percent of companies don’t have written remote work policies.
Lack of clear company policies can lead to inconsistencies in expectations, performance and legal compliance. To keep your company and your employees on a productive path, create a comprehensive and well-written work-from-home policy. Your policy can be temporary or permanent. It should cover:
Especially during a pandemic, it’s important that your sick leave policies are designed to encourage employees to self-isolate when ill. Revisit your sick policy to determine if you need to change the language, or adjust, extend or modify your policies in any way.
Attendance policies. Requiring punctual and regular attendance, and defining consequences for late arrival, early departure or other absences are key elements of an attendance policy. Does your policy need to be adjusted to accommodate remote working, social distancing or extended shifts?
Flexible work schedules. If your existing policy covers flexible work schedules, such as being in the office from 6 a.m. – 2 p.m. or a compressed schedule that offers every other Friday off, adjust this for your current situation.
Paid time off (PTO) and vacation policies. Offering unlimited, flexible, or floating PTO and vacation policies can increase productivity if implemented effectively. These policies allow employees to take paid vacation days, personal days, or sick leave days whenever they want (and in some cases, as much as they want.) Review your policy to determine if any changes are needed during this time.
FMLA and COVID-19. Employees who need time off to care for family members affected by COVID-19 may be covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Eligible employees are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave. Be sure your leave policies reflect this law. Additionally, the newly enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act expands FMLA protections, covers childcare obligations due to school closings, and provides other benefits on a temporary basis through December 31, 2020.
Keeping all your company policies organized and accessible remotely has never been more important. The Company Policies Smart App makes developing and distributing company policies a cinch. With just a few clicks, you can publish policies and notify employees, or print them out to distribute, depending on your needs.