The increased spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) presents employers with significant workplace challenges. The following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are designed to address some of the common questions employers are facing as more and more people around the world are affected by COVID-19. Employers are also encouraged to consult relevant FAQs and guidance put forth by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and The US Department of Labor (DOL), among other government agencies.
How is Mojo Trek supporting remote work during the crisis?
Mojo Trek closed its office in Chicago on March 12, shortly after the first cases in Illinois had been reported and we shifted work to a 100% remote environment. Both our commitment and availability have not been impacted, and we continue to support our clients and consultants as many states issue ‘shelter in place’ orders. The health and safety of our employees, consultants, suppliers, and client’s personnel remain our top priority.
Formulate and communicate the rules of telecommuting during the pandemic. Consider the following questions:
- Do you have set guidelines for working hours that are communicated to employees?
- Do you have a plan to monitor when employees are online?
- Are employees required to check-in when they are working remotely?
- Do you have a plan in place to accommodate employees who may be balancing caregiving and working from home responsibilities?
- Do your employees who are working remotely have access to all the technology they need, including video conferencing and a communication platform?
- Do you have a plan in place for what employees should do if they have issues with their technology?
- Are employees allowed to request additional equipment should they need it?
- Do you have a plan for regularly communicating with remote employees?
- Do you plan on checking in with your team/employees daily?
- Do you have plans for fostering team-wide communication?
- Does your communication plan include providing company-wide news regarding the COVID-19 pandemic?
- Do you have a plan for keeping remote employees engaged?
- Do you have an employee recognition program for remote employees?
- Do you encourage employees to preserve their work-life balance?
- Do you check in on your employees’ mental well-being?
- Do you have strategies in place to ensure employees don’t feel isolated?
We are hiring employees during the outbreak, what steps can we take together to protect our workforce?
The EEOC has confirmed that you may screen applicants for symptoms of the COVID-19 after you make a conditional job offer, as long as you do so for all entering employees in the same type of job. You can also take an applicant’s temperature as part of a post-offer, pre-employment medical exam after you have made a conditional offer of employment.
The EEOC has also said you may delay the start date of an applicant who has COVID-19 or symptoms associated with it. According to current CDC guidance, an individual who has the COVID-19 coronavirus or symptoms associated with it should not be in the workplace. In fact, the EEOC has also said you may withdraw a job offer when you need the applicant to start immediately but the individual has COVID-19 or symptoms of it. We recommend onboarding new employees remotely and can help facilitate that process with you. Contact us for more details.
If we utilize contractors or temporary employees to supplement our teams, may those individuals participate in our group health plan?
It depends on plan terms. Independent contractors are most often excluded from group health plan eligibility because of potential tax issues and the risk of inadvertently creating a multiple employer welfare arrangement. By contrast, the law allows an employer to include, or exclude, temporary employees so plan terms must be examined for guidance. All of our consultants have access to BCBS health insurance, but it’s best to contact your general counsel for advice.
Will Mojo Trek continue running background checks for new consultants?
Due to the spread of COVID-19 background check agencies are experiencing delays with court closures in many jurisdictions. We remain in contact with the agency we use to perform background checks see if searches can be completed and within what timeframe.
Criminal history search requests in jurisdictions impacted by court closures will remain in progress with a pending status in order to provide results as quickly as possible once the courts resume operations. Drug screens will be completed the moment a ‘shelter in place’ order has been lifted in the impacted states. If you would like to discuss alternative options or have questions, please contact us.
Where can I find more information about COVID-19?
For up-to-date information about the COVID-19, protective measures, and most recent regulations, we recommend visiting the following sites:
- WHO: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
- US Department of Labor: https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus
- CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/businesses-employers.html
- FDA: https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/counterterrorism-and-emerging-threats/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19
The materials offered above include information from TechServe Alliance website.
Disclaimer: This document is meant to provide general guidelines and should be used as a reference. It does not take into account all relevant local, state or federal laws and is not intended to constitute legal advice.
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