11 June 2020 – We are pleased to present you with Issue No. 5 of L&E Global’s weekly client circular, Reimagining Employment Law In the Era of the Coronavirus, bringing you the latest insights on the COVID-19 crisis and related employment law developments from across the globe.
THIS WEEK'S KEY TOPIC
MODIFICATIONS TO FACILITATE A SAFE RETURN TO WORK
WAYS TO ENSURE A HEALTHY AND SAFE RETURN TO THE WORKPLACE

Many countries are in the process of lifting their shelter-in-place orders, if they have not already done so, allowing businesses to begin to reopen and bring their employees back to the workplace. In-house counsel, Human Resource professionals and executives need to be ready to navigate workplace modifications, including social distancing protocols, sanitation and safety considerations.

Below is a non-exhaustive checklist of some best practices and mandates from across the globe, on workplace modifications to facilitate a smooth return to work and help to minimise risk:
  • Consider physical changes to reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19 and comply with applicable social distancing mandates, such as moving workstations, altering layouts and access points and installation of barriers. In Belgium for example, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment’s “Generic Guide for Combatting the Spread of COVID-19 at Work” advises employers to use ribbons, markings or physical barriers to demarcate zones or places to indicate distance, and aid in compliance with the government mandated social distancing requirement of 1.5 meters.
  • Implement cleaning and disinfection protocols, and obtain necessary supplies. In the United States for instance, this will require consistency with CDC and OSHA protocols. In France, under Article L. 4121-1 of the Labour Code, employers have an obligation to take the necessary measures to ensure safety and protect the physical and mental health of workers. France has also prescribed a protocol for cleaning and decontamination of the workplace if a case of coronavirus is detected in the company.
  • Evaluate the voluntary or mandatory use of personal protective equipment (PPE) (e.g. masks, gloves, face shields, etc.) and obtain the necessary equipment. Employees should be trained on use and decontamination. For example in Singapore, pursuant to the Government’s “Safe Management Measures” employers must ensure that everyone entering the workplace, including employees and visitors, wears a mask and utilises the appropriate PPE, at all times.
  • Consider staggered and group divided work shifts to help minimise the impact of COVID-19 exposure. This may require a corresponding salary adjustment, due to reduced schedules. For example, the UK government’s COVID-19 guidance and support advises employers to provide different start, finish and break times for their staff, where possible.
  • Prohibit or limit shared use of devices such as telephones, headsets, copiers, timeclocks, etc. Implement decontamination practices where prohibiting shared use is not possible.
  • Establish protocols for interactions with customers (e.g. eliminating handshakes, requiring masks/barriers, digital customer signage). In Spain for instance, the Health Ministry issued a rule mandating face masks in the street and in public places or places where it is impossible to keep a distance of 2 meters.
  • Post notices regarding new workplace rules. In the United States for example, under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), an employer with less than 500 employees is required to post hygiene/handwashing and social distancing reminders, in addition to any state and local requirements.
  • Continue to check national, local and industry laws and guidance for updates in this area.

COVID-19 has required us to change our behavior, and the workplace is no different. It is important for businesses to prepare effective new workplace policies and procedures to ensure a healthy and safe transition for their workforces to return to work.

COVID-19 EMPLOYMENT LAW DEVELOPMENTS
» Argentina
COVID-19 and How to Reopen Safely
• 08/06/2020
» Brazil
New Decree Encourages Projects with Social Benefits
• 09/06/2020
» Canada
Relief from Termination Obligations during COVID-19
• 01/06/20
» India
Guidelines for Restarting Media and Entertainment Industry
• 04/06/20
» Italy
Reopening Decree: Start of International Travel
• 02/06/20
» Mexico
Strategy for Resuming Activities
• 05/06/20
» United Kingdom
Guide to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
• 03/06/20

New COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme – What do Employers do Next?
• 03/06/20
» United States
More Changes to Paycheck Protection Programme
• 08/06/20
COVID-19 WEBINAR SERIES
L&E Global invites you to register for our Global Webinar Series via the Registration links provided below. Our complimentary series of webinars feature some of the world’s foremost labour and employment lawyers practicing today. These renowned thought leaders present practical insights and expert analysis on a wide-range of trending legal topics - nationally, regionally and globally. We look forward to learning with you!

Employment Litigation after COVID-19?
L&E Global Webinar

• Date: Thursday 18 June 2020
• Time: 6:00pm CET / noon Eastern Time
• Duration: 60 minutes

» Register Now!

Remote work in Latin America: Do’s and Don’ts
L&E Global Webinar

• Date: Tuesday 23 June 2020
• Time: 6:00pm CET / noon Eastern Time
• Duration: 60 minutes

» Register Now!

Please bookmark this site for the latest developments in our webinar series.

INTERNATIONAL WEBINARS
L&E Global is pleased to provide you with full access to our Global Webinar Series Archives. To view any of our webinar presentations, please click on the links below:

Returning to Business as Usual in Retail?
L&E Global Webinar
• 09/06/2020


How to prepare for the post-COVID reopening in Latin America!
L&E Global Webinar
• 12/05/2020


Restarting a Global Business: COVID-19 Challenges in Europe and the USA
L&E Global Webinar
• 28/04/2020


COVID-19: Your Essential Workforce Law Update in Asia-Pacific!
L&E Global Webinar
• 20/04/2020


COVID-19: Your Essential Workforce Law Update in Latin America!
L&E Global Webinar
• 8/04/2020


COVID-19: Your Essential Workforce Law Update in Europe!
L&E Global Webinar
• 23/03/2020


How COVID-19 is Impacting the Workplace in the USA, China and Europe
L&E Global Webinar
• 2/03/2020
LOCAL WEBINARS
Canada
Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti Webinar
Working From Home: Hard at Work or Hardly Working?
• 17/06/2020


Japan
Atsumi & Sakai Webinar
COVID-19 in Japan: Legal Issues and Financial Relief Options Available
• 17/06/2020


Germany
Pusch Wahlig Workplace Law Webinar
Flexibility of Working Hours during COVID-19 Crisis
• 19/06/2020


United Kingdom
Clyde & Co Webinar
How can 3rd Party Finance Support Business Resilience?
• 01/06/2020


United States
Jackson Lewis Webinar
Issues and Responses When Employees Refuse to Return to Work
• 10/06/2020

 
CORONAVIRUS IN A FLASH MICROSITE
In the context of this unprecedented threat to the global economy, we recently launched our dedicated CORONAVIRUS IN A FLASH microsite, a virtual COVID-19 crisis resource centre for employers affected by the pandemic. Please bookmark the site in your browser.
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