Even in tough times, you must persevere to succeed. When starting a new job position or returning to your previous in-person roll, you should take an extra step of caution for yourself, co-workers, loved ones, and the community.
In this tenuous situation, there are many questions employers and employees should be asking. We have compiled a few of the common ones to ask:
- Have you been exposed to anyone who has or may have COVID-19?
- Are you caring for anyone with the virus?
- Do you have childcare needs covered?
- Do you have a fever of over 100.4⁰ F or 38⁰ C? (This may be asked of you each day.)
- Are you experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms?
- Do you have any pre-existing conditions that make you more susceptible to the virus?
- Is your normal mode of transportation available and do you feel it is safe for you to use it?
- What safety measures have been put in place to protect employees?
- Will personal protective equipment be provided to all employees?
- Will my schedule vary to have staggered entrances, breaks and departures?
- How will the 6-foot social distancing be enforced in company areas like corridors, bathrooms, and break rooms?
- What happens if an employee has the virus or is showing symptoms?
- Will I be expected to do any sanitizing of my work area, tools, etc.? If so, will proper training and equipment be provided?
- What will happen if an employee does not comply with the safety measures?
When you are asked to return to work, it is okay for you to check on the steps that are being taken to keep everyone safe. Even with all the planning and preparation employers are doing and with personal medical history, it may not feel safe for you to return. You should discuss any concerns that are preventing return with your employer.
It is important to note that if you are not comfortable with the safety measures and you decline to return, your employer may report your refusal to the state unemployment agency, which may result in the discontinuation of any unemployment benefits you have been receiving. However, most employers are trying to strike a good balance in re-opening, making it a priority to provide the safest possible environment to protect their workers. These questions should help you be confident that everything that can reasonably be done to protect you is being implemented.
Please refer to the CDC for the most up to date guidelines for the workplace.