Tips, recommendations and common pitfalls.
We recognise four principles that should be applied in any reactivation plan: graduality, reasonability, timeliness, and clarity in the protocol to be implemented. Moreover, based on the UN recovery plan and the ILO four-pillar policy framework, the following general steps are recommended:
- First, companies should analyse each activity in the light of the General Biosecurity Protocol, with the aim of structuring their own reactivation plan accordingly.
- Second, having a suitable company-wide protocol in place will harmonise the employment and administrative arrangements for every employee. Such agreements could include the reduction of shift work, salaries, aids or allowances, the implementation of permanent teleworking measures or the organisation of worktime between the employees. Lastly, the parties to the contract of employment could also agree to its termination, providing for an expedited activation process that also avoids any anticipated claims. Whichever strategy is adopted, when the company is structuring any agreement with their employees, it is critical to foresee any eventual claim based on a lack of willingness to adhere to the agreement; therefore, a virtual signing protocol should be in place to guarantee that the employees are entering into the employment agreement freely and willingly.
- Third, in case the company should notice an economic impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is highly recommendable to analyse the opportunities available to employers to apply for aid and relief measures which the Colombian government has created in order to provide support to the formal sector.
All things considered, each measure should be analysed carefully and on a case-by-case basis. It is equally imperative that employers remain well-informed of the current and ongoing changes to the law, enacted to cope with the emergency.