COVID-19: Employer Toolbox - Personnel Policies and Employee Handbook

COVID-19: Employer Toolbox - Personnel Policies and Employee Handbook

Even the most prepared employer may not have anticipated a global pandemic reaction plan was needed as part of their business plan, policies, or employee handbook. Stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders and the resulting reductions in business revenue, combined with new federal and state legislation, can be confusing and overwhelming, to say the least.

Here are some policies and procedures to consider adding to your business arsenal, as well as some COVID-19-related topics to review.

  • Remote work policy and authorization form
  • Remote access policy
  • Furlough policy
  • Health and safety policies and postings
  • FFCRA mandatory postings
  • Updated state unemployment website information
  • Federal and state sick leave requirements under COVID-19 specific legislation
  • Local and state rent relief policies, for residential and commercial tenants
  • Expansion of FMLA coverage for COVID-19-related leave requests and needs
  • Small business relief programs, including paycheck protection, economic injury grants, and debt relief

It is also a good idea to review your existing policies and handbooks to make sure everything is compliant with state and federal laws.  Additionally, with the ongoing furloughs and economic impact, reviewing your files to ensure you have the required furlough, layoff, and termination paperwork is prudent.

For example, a “packet” of information and forms for reference when making the difficult decision to furlough or terminate an employee might include:

  • Notice to Employee as to Change in Relationship
  • “For Your Benefit” Unemployment Pamphlet from EDD
  • COBRA and Cal-COBRA notices and election forms
  • Coverage continuation notices
  • Federal and Cal-WARN Act notice
  • Acknowledgment of final paycheck

Now is also an appropriate time to verify contact information for your employees.  This ensures you can contact them via email and/or phone if you need to notify them of a furlough or offer available work.  Further, you will have a valid mailing address in the event you have to send a check, wage statement, or other information and documents.