As an employer, you have a responsibility to provide a safe work environment for your employees. Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s the law. So, what exactly does it mean to have a safe work environment?  

The simplest answer is that safe workplaces follow state, federal, and local laws. And the best way to demonstrate your company’s commitment to workplace safety is to have policies in place that show how you follow these laws. In a post-COVID world, this also means having a return-to-work solution, up-to-date handbook, and a good remote work policy. 

A  safe work environment is about more than just preventing injuries or the spread of disease, it is about making employee well-being a priority.  A safe workplace is one  where employees feel secure and enjoy a safe space, company values, and a positive co-working environment that encourages respect for everyone.

So, where do you start? The foundations of a safe workplace are built on policies that comply with state and federal laws. 

Having the Right Policies in Place for Your State

Having policies in place which comply with state law, provides a clear direction for your company’s day-to-day operations.  And having the correct policies and procedures in place helps your business comply with employment laws and regulations.  These policies can also help guide  decision-making regarding your company.  Check out SixFifty’s map of every policy needed for all 50 states.

From there, you will want to make sure you include all policies required by federal law. 

Having Policies in Place for Federal Laws

Once your State-required policies are in place, you will want to include all federally-required policies. To make things easier on you, we listed out the required federal policies below. 

  • Equal Employment and Anti-Discrimination Policy
  • Sexual Harassment Policy
  • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Policy (50+ Employees)
  • Military Service Leave
  • Jury Duty Leave

OSHA Requirements

Every company should be familiar with OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA is a federal agency responsible for enforcing The Occupational Safety Health Act of 1970 (OSH.)  Congress passed this act in “to assure safe and healthful working conditions” and hold employers accountable s for providing  a safe working environment to their employees. Businesses need  to follow OSHA rules whether they’re is set by state or federal standards. 

Having the right policies in place is an important first step, and it’s important to make them accessible to your employees. The best way to do this is with an Employee Handbook

Employee Handbook 

Having an employee handbook, shows your employees you have policies in place. It lets them know what your business is doing to keep them safe and healthy, as well as what’s expected of them. .  Policies may form part of the employment contract and are often provided to employees in a handbook. For this reason, a good handbook should include more than just the policies that are required by state and federal law. Anything your company does to foster a safe and healthy work environment should be formalized in a policy and included in your employee handbook. 

Examples of policies in the workplace:

  • Remote Work Policy
  • Social Media Policy
  • Drugs and Alcohol Policy

Looking for a solution? Sixfifty teamed up with the top employment law firm in the nation to teach a computer to write employment policies, just like a lawyer would, giving you access to over 50 policies that account for the law in every state., And they can all be customized to every one of your business needs.

COVID has changed work forever. Whether your employees are returning to worksites, telecommuting for the foreseeable future, or a hybrid, your company needs a return-to-work plan. And it’s critical that you formalize this plan in a policy.   So, what exactly is a return-to-work policy?

Return to Work 

A return to work policy is a policy put in place to return employees to the workplace safely, or outline how they’ll work remotely .  This policy is set up to help keep returning employees in the workplace safe during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.  

A return-to-work policy should include a few key items to help ensure a safe working environment. 

Ensure a safe work environment: Return-to-Work

  • Health Screenings: Screening workers for COVID-19 signs or symptoms is a strategy that many employers are choosing to implement as part of their daily efforts to maintain safe physical work sites. Employers should consider implementing a screening and monitoring strategy aimed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.  Protocols for screening workers before entry into the workplace should be put in place based on local guidelines to allow your company to collect the information you need from your employees to determine whether they are ready and willing to return to the office.
  • Mask Mandates: While the CDC has relaxed federal mask mandates, many states, counties, and cities still require employers to provide employees with face coverings.These states, counties, and cities also require that masks be worn in the workplace. In most settings, vaccinated individuals are not required to wear a mask.
  • Physical Distancing: Employees should be directed to practice social distancing by staying in their office or workspace as much as possible and avoiding being within six feet of co-workers and other individuals in the worksite. They should also be advised against sharing workspaces and work equipment whenever possible, and limiting in-person meetings. Businesses should take steps to limit the number of people in high traffic areas such as lobbies, kitchens, conference rooms, break rooms, and hallways, and employees should be encouraged to bring their own food and drink to work and avoid sharing food or ordering delivery or take-out.

One of the biggest challenges for companies creating safe workplaces during and after COVID is the pace at which laws and guidelines change. You may have offices in two cities in the same state, where one requires masks and the other doesn’t.  If you have employees in Texas, the temperature considered to be a “fever” is different than in other states. It’s a lot to keep track of and you can’t afford to get any details wrong. That is why Sixfifty created a return-to-work solution! We partnered with the top employment experts at Wilson Sonsini to help you assess your back-to-office readiness, generate back-to-office policies and documents, and track employee health and vaccinations so you can keep sick employees at home.  So you can keep your business a safe working environment.

Sixfifty 

Employment Law in a post-COVID world is very complex, and Sixfifty can help! If you are looking for more information on how to get an employee handbook or return-to-work solution for your company, schedule a demo today!