How the New Mask and Social Distancing Mandates Affect New Jersey Employers
As of June 4, New Jersey lifted its mandatory mask and social distancing mandates for employees in businesses that do not include childcare centers and schools. However, the changes are not mandatory. Employers may choose to require employees to wear masks and maintain social distancing. Furthermore, employers have the right to require employees to return to the workplace, as opposed to working from home.
Read on to learn more about the changes to NJ’s employer COVID guidelines and what that means for your business.
Are Employees Required to Wear Masks at Work?
The state no longer insists vaccinated employees wear a mask in most workplaces (childcare and education facilities excluded). However, that does not mean that employees are off the hook and no longer need to wear a mask.
Each employer has the right to require all employees to wear a mask. If they choose to follow the state mandates, employers have the right to ask employees to show their vaccination cards if they choose to remove their masks. Furthermore, employers cannot punish employees who choose to wear their masks at work, even if the mandate for vaccinated employees is lifted.
The legal change simply means that employers have the right to allow vaccinated employees the right to remove masks in the workplace. However, employers can still require all employees to wear masks if they feel it is beneficial to employees and their clients.
Are Social Distancing Requirements Still in Place for Employees?
Once again, the answer is “maybe.” If vaccinated employees do not need to wear masks in the workplace, they do not need to social distance. However, employers can still enforce mask and social distancing mandates. Furthermore, employees may choose to social distance, even if it is not required.
Do Employers Still Need to Provide Employees the Ability to Work from Home to Reduce Workplace Capacity?
Under the new laws, everyone can go back to the office. Employers no longer need to accommodate reduced workforce procedures. Of course, employers can choose to allow employees to work from home if their childcare situation requires it or if they are unvaccinated and worried about the spread of COVID.
Nonetheless, employers can allow staffing back to full capacity. In addition, they can allow customers to return to the business without any capacity restriction.
Do Employers Still Need to Follow Other COVID Procedures, Such as Health Checks and Infection Notifications?
New Jersey’s laws do not change the fact that the pandemic is still alive. While employers can allow vaccinated employees the right to remove masks at work and cease social distancing, they still must conduct health checks as employees enter the workplace.
Furthermore, if any employees test positive for COVID, employers must notify the entire staff that an employee tested positive. The employer cannot reveal the name of the positive employee without violating HIPAA policies. However, employees and staff have a right to know that someone at the workplace tested positive, even if the person was vaccinated before testing positive.
State mandates relating to COVID are ever-changing. These new changes affect vaccinated employees with proof of vaccination. However, the laws may continue to change as new information becomes available. The dedicated staff at Workplace HCM can update you regarding new COVID laws and procedures as they change. Please call us at 856.334.9711 to learn more about the laws affecting your workplace every day.