With a recent surge in the supply of COVID-19 vaccines and a decrease in numbers of new cases of COVID, every Canadian jurisdiction is making plans for a gradual reopening. What does this mean for employers?
There is much to consider as we head into a new normal. Many businesses sent their workforce home to work when the pandemic began. To begin to reopen now and to return employees to the workplace will take careful planning and appropriate workplace policies and procedures.
Some things you’ll have to consider when preparing your workplace for a return to work while the global pandemic is still ongoing are:
- Putting screening measures in place for anyone entering the worksite
- Implementing physical barriers and applying physical distancing rules
- Ensuring proper ventilation of the workspace
- Increased cleaning and disinfection of surfaces
- The use of personal protective equipment and masks or face coverings
- Dealing with vaccination hesitancy
Putting policies in place to cover these considerations will help guide your reopening process and inform your employees and contractors of your company’s expectations and rules.
In the new Chapter 7: Emergency Preparedness and in other chapters in PolicyPro there are sample policies that can help you prepare for emergencies and reopening. These include:
- 7.04 Emergency Leave, which, along with 4.13 Sick Leave and 4.27 Long-Term Serious Injury or Illness Leave will help guide the paid and unpaid leave process for sick leave, vaccination leave, emergency leave, etc.
- 7.05 Non-Medical Masks and Face Coverings
- 7.08 Restricted Access/Physical Distancing/Screening
- 7.09 Hygiene and Housekeeping During an Emergency along with 6.19 Hygiene and Housekeeping
As well, there is a COVID-19 Safety Plan and a reopening checklist available with the Communicable/ Infectious Disease Response and Business Continuity sample policy in Chapter 7 (SPP HR 7.03).
During the reopening process, you’ll also have to consider employee privacy, human rights, implementing a vaccination policy, employees’ right to refuse unsafe work and any accommodation requirements. The task may seem monumental, but with expert-prepared policies from First Reference employers can feel confident that they’re reopening in a safe and diligent manner.
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