If you are re-opening your office and have some employees who are vaccinated while others are not, our best recommendation is to follow the current guidelines established by the CDC, OSHA, and other health & safety experts.
In situations where CDC guidance differs for vaccinated and unvaccinated people, such as the need to quarantine after travel or exposure to someone with COVID-19, you can implement different procedures as long as you are not targeting or discriminating against a particular group.
Affinity HR Group is BSCAI's endorsed HR partner, providing HR support, recruiting and employee engagement services. For a link to our menu of services for BSCAI members, go to www.AffinityHRGroup.com/BSCAI
Q: We are considering putting in place a revised work week policy for the summer months. DO we need to revise our handbook to do so?
A: No, you don't need to revise it if it is a trial or something you’re just planning to roll out for this summer. We do recommend that you create a policy for it, however, so that employees understand how to implement it and understand how it relates to existing vacation and PTO policies. You can roll out the temporary policy and have employees review and sign it. It should also have a specific time period indicated.
Do companies have to accommodate service animals? Under the Americans With Disabilities Act, which applies to companies with 15 or more employees, an employer should attempt to provide a "reasonable accommodation" to a person with a qualified disability. The act defines what types of conditions would qualify as a disability. If the individual is eyesight impaired and allowing a dog at work does not create an "undue hardship" to your company, then yes, providing that accommodation would be reasonable.
It's a slippery slope from there. What types of animals are service animals? What level of mental health ailment would qualify someone as having a disability? Our best advice is to get some validation from a medical provider for the need for the accommodation and the benefit it would provide and allow the accommodation as you deem appropriate.
The recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act extended FFCRA as a voluntary benefit and applicable tax credit offset through September 30, 2021, and it also made some revisions, including:
Again, any FFCRA is voluntary as of January 1, 2021. However, providing employees with this paid time off (as well as related costs, such as insurance premiums) is repaid to employers through the offset of payroll taxes.
Paid time off policies, along with most employment policies, can be changed at any time as long as they remain compliant with applicable federal, state, and local laws. If you had to make a temporary adjustment due to particular circumstances (such as a world-wide pandemic), you can rescind that revision at any point or implement an all-together different option. Even if you did not specifically state the change was temporary you have the right to make the revision.
Whenever you make a policy change, you should give employees advanced notice. Not only is it required in some states but notice is always a good practice to ensure employees understand expectations and allowances. Also, if employees have already made plans under the former policy, try to accommodate as much as possible.