Reopening the Workplace Regulatory Guidance from the Experts at BLR

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As many employers reopen physical workplaces and reconvene their workforces, BLR® is providing regulatory guidance, resources, and solutions to help mitigate risk and ensure compliance.

By implementing policies and practices that are consistent with rapidly changing guidelines, employers can help protect themselves from litigation and help mitigate employee concerns as they return to the workplace.

As states across the country continue with phased reopening plans, businesses are challenged with new compliance hurdles and safety considerations that have emerged as a result of COVID-19. Still beholden to prepandemic regulations, businesses must also follow extensive new guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure a safe workplace and protect their employees from recognized environmental hazards.

Additionally, employers are navigating new complexities around COVID-19 related to leave management and disability accommodation and trying to manage general anxiety, fear, and concern from their employees around returning to the workplace.

Matthew H. Parker, an attorney with Whelan Corrente & Flanders LLP in Providence, Rhode Island, sees three reasons for the hesitancy: (1) a fear of contracting the virus by going back into the workplace, (2) a need to stay home to care for children whose schools and day cares are closed, and (3) a reluctance to give up unemployment benefits.

Dina M. Mastellone, an attorney with Genova Burns LLC in Newark, New Jersey, says that although employees generally lose unemployment benefits if they don’t return to work, “employers still need to evaluate an employee’s reason as to why they cannot return to work on a case-by-case basis in order to determine whether or not they may be eligible for federal, state, and/or local leave laws, including paid sick, family, or school closure leave.”

With these unprecedented challenges, BLR is dedicated to supporting businesses as they prepare to reopen with the latest regulatory guidance, resources, and solutions.

In a free Return-to-Work Checklist, BLR’s legal editors and experts break down the different measures businesses need to take to provide employees with a safe workplace environment. Businesses can download a copy at https://interactive.blr.com/RTW-Checklist-COVID-19.

For even more robust training, BLR is offering a “COVID-19 and the Workplace: Housekeeping and Hygiene” course through its learning solution TrainingToday® to help employers comply with existing safety and health standards and implement new housekeeping and hygiene practices. View course details at https://simplifytraining.com/course/covid-19-workplace-housekeeping-hygiene/.

BLR’s Reopening the Workplace Virtual Conference: Navigating the New Reality of COVID-19 is now available on demand. This provides information about determining the ‘“who, when, and how’” of bringing an employer’s workforce back; the implementation of temperature and symptom checks or social distancing in the workplace; and answers on:

  • Health, privacy, and employer liability issues
  • Leave issues (FFCRA, FMLA, PSL)
  • Wage and hour and benefits issues
  • Employee rights and protections

Virtual conference attendees also receive a PDF of 20 FAQs related to Reopening the Workplace answered by BLR’s in-house team of legal editors and experts. Learn more at https://store.blr.com/reopening-the-workplace.

BLR’s commitment to supporting businesses during reopening doesn’t stop there; the company is planning to provide continued guidance and education, such as the upcoming Workplace Safety Recordkeeping Essentials in the COVID-19 Era: How to Comply with Newly Issued Guidance and Train Workers on Recordable/Reportable Requirements Master Class on August 12, 2020. Those professionals wishing to attend can register for this event at https://store.blr.com/record-keeping-essentials-covid-19.

BLR recommends employers follow all of the applicable guidance from the CDC, state, and local public health authorities, from providing the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, gloves, and hand sanitizers, to disinfecting high-contact areas, implementing social distancing, and more. “By implementing policies and practices that are consistent with rapidly changing guidelines, employers can help protect themselves from litigation and help mitigate employee concerns as they return to the workplace,” says Chris Ceplenski, Managing Editor for BLR.

You can also check out BLR’s Coronavirus and Pandemic Response Solution Center, which is being updated as new information becomes available, at https://interactive.blr.com/Solution-Center/Coronavirus.

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About BLR
Business and Legal Resources (BLR) is an information services and technology company with more than 20 years of experience working with the nation’s top companies to simplify compliance and drive success. BLR delivers award-winning online and in-person solutions, including training programs, events, web portals, reports, and subscription services to help businesses unlock their full potential. Over 30,000 businesses turn to BLR each year for the knowledge and tools they need to respond quickly in today’s continuously evolving business environment. https://www.blr.com/

About TrainingToday
TrainingToday provides online education programs for employees and supervisors by offering an extensive course library on hundreds of workplace topics, engaging and interactive presentations, and valuable training tools. In order to fit into your training plan, TrainingToday offers multiple learning management system (LMS) delivery platforms for you to choose from, and it’s even mobile-friendly, so you can train your employees anywhere, anytime. https://interactive.blr.com/trainingtoday-demo

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