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Workers Returning After Stay-at-Home Orders


As states ease out of stay-at-home orders, there are concerns on how employees will safely return to their workspaces. Understanding all of the local and federal requirements for reopening and implementing precautions presents a challenge to both employees and employers.

Understanding requirements and following all of the needed steps to secure a workforce can be confusing. If you own an Ohio business and are planning to bring your employees back to the office, you may not know where to start. If you are unsure how to move forward legally, talk to a Columbus employment attorney.

When Furloughed Workers Are Returning

Reopening businesses may find their workforce has shifted. Workers may have become accustomed to working remotely and argue they do not want or need to return to the office. Others may have accepted another position. There are many possibilities to consider.

If a business has successfully secured a loan through the federal Paycheck Protection Program, often referred to as a PPP loan, there are aspects of that loan to consider as well. An example of this is that 75% of a forgiven PPP loan must be distributed to payroll expenses. The forgiveness aspect of the loan could be reduced if staffing does not meet certain requirements.

There may also be benefit issues to consider. If an employee was officially separated from the position, insurance enrollment may need to happen. Or, there may be human resource documents to sign.

Redesigning Workplaces

There are logistical challenges to employers bringing employees back to workspaces as well. Businesses that rely on office spaces will have to consider how to distance workers. If there are elevators, there may be elevator lines to determine.

For some workplaces, it may work to alternate work schedules between teams of employees. Staggering shifts means a smaller number of people within an office at one time. Of course, there can be wage considerations to take into account if a business is reducing hours or staggering shifts to fit within three days when the hours were previously scheduled over a five day workweek. A Columbus employment attorney can answer questions about wage and labor issues in redesigning shifts and spaces.

In addition, communal areas need to be closed or reconsidered. When lunch rooms and break rooms are limited, there needs to be another way for employees to have their break in a safe and sanitary environment.

With all of these changes, there could still be circumstances when employees are hesitant to return. Or, workers could fear illness or not have childcare issues. There are many issues to work through. Clear communication plans and expectations can help.

Our Columbus employment attorney can help with any questions about returning to work. Call 614-949-1181 for a free and confidential consultation.


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