COVID-19 > Returning to Work
- What are some recommended best practices for reopening and returning to work?
Several resources may be helpful.
First, both the City of San Antonio and State of Texas have pages with COVID-19-related information on their websites.They both link to pages that contain information specifically for businesses (links below).
- City of San Antonio COVID-19 Resources:
- City of San Antonio Information for Businesses:
- State of Texas COVID-19 Resources:
- State of Texas Information for Businesses (Open Texas):
The following samples may help you communicate with your employees. We recommend that you modify the Notice of New Guidance to suit your purposes and include it with the other notices. Doing so illustrates for your employees how you will be protecting the workplace and that you intend to maintain a reasonable standard of care. Employees who refuse to come back to work following your notification could be terminated, or you could allow them to use their accrued PTO or consider granting temporary “unpaid leave” for some period of time.
- Notice: Reactivation of Employment
- Notice: Return to Full Employment
- Notice of New Guidelines for our Workplace (Sample)
The Notice of Reactivation of Employment is for use if you have some employees
- who have been laid off or furloughed or had hours reduced
- whom you would like to pay as a result of the SBA PPP Loan even though you are not ready to return them to full-time status
It simply indicates that you will communicate with them when it’s time to resume their work schedule, but they will be paid for the time being with a reassessment at the end 8 weeks.
- What do I do if I have reopened, and my folks were only off for 3 weeks, but now they do not want to come back to work? They would prefer to stay home and draw unemployment.
Per the TWC (COVID-19 FAQ website: https://www.twc.texas.gov/jobseekers/unemployment-benefits-services), you should report any job refusal. In Texas, you may send the information to [email protected] or call 1-800-252-3642.
- We have questions about getting our employee back to work. One employee has been out on disability and actually contracted COVID-19 while in the hospital having surgery three or four weeks ago.
Both CDC and EEOC have stated that when an employee has previously tested positive, an employer has a right to request the employee be tested and provide a physician’s statement prior to returning to work. The principal reason for this is the obligation the employer has to other employees and customers to maintain a safe workplace. Please find links below to CDC and EEOC.
Please note that this employee should have been eligible for Emergency Paid Sick Leave based on FFCRA.
- We have questions about getting our employee back to work. One employee has basically been under self-quarantine due to a number of pre-existing conditions and is wanting to come back.
If this employee felt he had been exposed to COVID-19, based on EEOC guidance you can actually require him to be tested prior to coming back to work. That is something you can choose to pay for or not. You may also provide testing for all employees at your worksite.
If he has been out on quarantine for 14 days and has not shown any symptoms, then the standard indicates he may be safe.
You can also require all employees to take their temperature prior to coming to work each day if you choose. They can take their temperature and send you a picture of it. Some employers are also purchasing no touch temperature devices so they can be used onsite.
- We are bringing our employees back to work at the office and would like to communicate with them about changes we’re making to our workplace policies. Do you have any suggestions for how we do that?
Below is a notice that you might consider communicating to your employees about possible steps you are taking or will take to help maintain a healthy workplace, including guidance to employees. You can modify this as fits your needs.
- What are the requirements that the Bexar County Executive Order (NW-10) imposes on businesses?
Judge Wolff’s Executive Order includes the following requirements for “all commercial entities in Bexar County providing goods or services directly to the public”:
- The business must develop and implement a Health and Safety Policy that requires, “at minimum, all employees or visitors to the… business premises or other facilities to wear face coverings when in an area or performing an activity which will necessarily involve close contact or proximity to co-workers or the public where six feet of separation is not feasible.”
- The Health and Safety Policy “may also include the implementation of other mitigating measures designed to control and reduce the transmission of COVID-19 such as temperature checks or health screenings.”
- In addition, this Health and Safety Policy must be posted for employees and the public: “Commercial entities must post the Health and Safety Policy required by this Executive Order in a conspicuous location sufficient to provide notice to employees and visitors of all health and safety requirements.”
- Businesses not in compliance by Monday, 6/22, may be penalized: “Failure to develop and implement the Health and Safety Policy required by the Executive Order within five (5) calendar days following the Effective Date [6/17] may result in a fine not to exceed $1,000 for each violation.”
Many other municipalities, counties, and states are requiring similar policies to be in place.Our Human Resources team can help to develop a Health and Safety Policy for your business.Below are some samples based on the Bexar County Executive Order:
- Health and Safety Plan (Bexar County)
- What to do if an employee has a positive test result
- Notice of New Guidelines for our Workplace
We can also assist with tailoring the Health and Safety Policy to other local orders as needed.