New Jersey Begins Stage 2 Reopening on June 15, 2020. What do You Need to Know?
On June 15, 2020, the first part of stage 2 business reopening begins. This process includes opening non-essential retail locations, daycares, and outdoor dining with restrictions.
Then, on June 22, 2020, salons and gyms will be permitted to open. Other businesses, such as nail salons, tattoo parlors, museums, libraries, summer camps, and DMVs, are part of stage 2, however, they have not been given a reopen date yet.
Many business owners are excited to have some type of business flow back into their establishments, however, reopening during COVID-19 is not as easy as turning on the lights and unlocking the door. Restrictions are still in place to protect the safety of your employees and the public. Additionally, other executive orders, such as allowing employees to work from home is possible, as still in place.
Read on to learn how to reopen your business during the Coronavirus Stage 2 openings.
Can I Mandate All Employees Return to Work?
Governor Murphy passed an executive order which mandated companies with the option to allow employees to telecommute must allow telecommuting. The Governor made it clear this order would not be lifted with stage 2.
Therefore, no employer can insist all employees return to work if those employees can work from home.
Keep in mind, some employees simply cannot return to work. If they cannot telecommute, they have the option of using paid family and medical leave under the FFCRA if they must care for children who do not have school, camp, or childcare to attend.
What Type of Information Do I Need to Provide Employees?
Before you can educate your employees on the new COVID-19 business policies, you must educate yourself. The CDC has released guidelines that can be found here.
The CDC insists employers post the FFCRA information posters in a common area for employees to see. However, employees working from home must also receive a copy of these guidelines via email.
In addition, it is up to you to educate your employees of the CDC guidelines involving health and preventing the spread of Coronavirus. It may be a great idea to both emails an outline of these guidelines, provide the link to the CDC website, and post an outline in a public area. Go the extra step and host a virtual meeting for employees to ask questions and air concerns.
Will Employers Need to Require Health Checks and Social Distancing in the Workplace?
NJ law has not mandated all health requirements for the reopening of businesses; however, the CDC makes very strong recommendations to keep employees and the public safe. These recommendations include health checks and social distancing.
As employers, it is highly recommended that you perform a daily health check on each employee at the start of the workday. Most employers will use a temperature check as employees enter the workspace. Be cautious of going too far into a health inquiry as you must remain mindful of HIPPA requirements.
It is also advised employees wear face coverings throughout the workday, except when eating or drinking or if medically unable to do so. Continue to promote proper handwashing techniques. You may wish to set up hand washing stations or hand sanitizing stations throughout your place of business as well.
Remember to continue to promote social distancing and keeping employees, customers, or clients six feet apart. You may need to rearrange work areas to allow employees to properly distance from one another during this time.
You should also work with a cleaning company that has the newest procedures in place and the best equipment available to prevent and remove any COVID-19 hazards in the workplace.
Finally, make it as easy as possible for employees to learn their equipment regularly. Stock up on disinfectant wipes and keep them easily accessible within the workplace. Remind employees to clean their workstations and equipment as often as possible.
Should Employer Policies Change in the Times of COVID-19?
You cannot reopen your business without addressing the new needs brought by COVID-19. Employers must be mindful of the need for employees to stay home if sick, have additional sick leave to encourage them to stay home, and the bereavement leave needed to help them mourn as others close to them may succumb to the Coronavirus. It is highly suggested you do the following to help make returning to work easier and healthier for all involved:
- Allow for rollover sick time, vacation time, and other PTO to encourage employees to stay home when they are sick.
- Create or review and revamp a bereavement policy allowing employees to take the necessary time off to grieve for the loss of their loved ones during the pandemic.
- Revise your work-from-home policies to streamline the process and allow employees and employers maximum benefits while working from home.
- Install proper cybersecurity tools and policies to protect proprietary data when employees are working from home.
- Create a plan addressing the reality of increased absenteeism. Employees may need to be out of work more often for various reasons related to Coronavirus. Implement a standard policy addressing these issues and cross-train employees to complete work for colleagues who must be absent.
How Should Employers Handle Hiring New People?
Once the doors open, hopefully, business will grow. You do not need to stop hiring people, nor do you need to cause more concern for current employees by bringing strangers into a workplace for interviews.
Instead, you can offer remote interviewing practices and remote onboarding options. Proper technology in the workplace can aid in implementing these hiring and onboarding options.
Furthermore, when you are hiring, bringing people back to work, or laying employees off, make sure to follow all laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace. Do not make decisions based on issues such as race, color, national origin, sex/gender, or other protected classes.
Workplace HCM offers valuable resources to help you reopen with ease. Our technology allows you to not only interview remotely but create an entire onboarding program without gathering groups of people together in a small space.
Furthermore, we can help you update all policies and procedures as they relate to COVID-19 and make sure you are following all the necessary employment and labor laws, as well as CDC guidelines to safely reopen. Contact us today at 856.334.9711 to learn more.