Navigating the Return to Work

Bringing your employees back to the workplace and creating a safe environment is critical. Start building an inclusive plan that works for everyone with these resources.

Workplace Safety

Employers have a general duty to keep their employees safe. Firstly, analyze the regulatory landscape with respect to your state and local reopening orders. Some states have very specific rules -- sometimes industry-specific rules -- covering matters such as health screenings, social distancing, and PPE, among others and the guidance may differ depending on vaccination status. Monitor local requirements closely, and be prepared to modify your policies and plans in response to changes.
In addition, be sure to review reopening guidance from the CDC on cleaning and disinfecting public and semi-public spaces, including workplaces. OSHA has also released general guidance on mitigating and preventing COVID-19 in the workplace.
For sensitive matters including medical inquiries, reasonable accommodations, and incentives surrounding vaccination status, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released guidance to help employers navigate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other EEO law concerns relating to COVID-19 and return-to-work.
There’s also a plethora of free resources and checklists from preeminent law firms on the process of reopening the physical workplace. Here are just a few:
There are several practical considerations that will likely be part of developing and communicating any Back-to-Business Plan. Here are four potential approaches to reopening that you might be considering.
  • Reopen fully once permitted by law and as soon as you’re prepared to do so (i.e. have developed and communicated a plan, and have implemented the parts of the plan necessary before employees arrive)
  • Reopen fully but in stages
  • Reopen at partial capacity and reassess later
  • Reopen at partial capacity and permanently convert a portion of your employees to a remote workforce
While restrictions are being lifted throughout the country, it’s important to check your state and local guidance for recommendations and requirements as it relates to rules and regulations. To tackle and address any of these reopening scenarios, develop a cross-functional task force with representation from (at least) finance, facilities, IT, HR, and senior management. Explain the measures being taken to protect employees and customers; especially those that go above and beyond state and local regulatory requirements.
Practical considerations for any degree of reopening include:
Physical workplace modifications
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or face masks may still be required in the workplace by your state or locality, including provisions for whether employers are responsible for provision and cleaning of PPE.
  • Temperature checks and symptom screening requirements are easing up in most locations. While only a few states still require temperature checks, there are still some state and local screening requirements, some of which include industry specific rules. Symptom screening involves employees self-reporting any symptoms to their employer, usually before their commute on the day of work.
  • Ascertainment of vaccination status involves verifying whether or not an employee has reached full vaccination status. The polarity of state and local orders and regulations on this topic is significant. Employers should closely monitor state and local vaccination guidance as it relates to their workforce. The federal Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) provides information on mandatory vaccination requirements, vaccination-related inquiries and incentives. Note that any data that is collected about vaccination status needs to be safeguarded as a confidential medical record and kept under restricted access with other employee medical data under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standard. Depending on your location here are some potential approaches that you might be considering.
    • Treating all workers in a similar fashion regardless of vaccination status and without requesting vaccination status, adhering to the CDC guidance for unvaccinated individuals
    • Where allowable, having employees self identify by way of the honor system as vaccinated and symptom-free or unvaccinated and symptom-free and adhering to federal, state, and local guidance in accordance with their vaccination status
    • Where allowable, requesting proof of vaccination and treating those who do not submit proof as unvaccinated, and adhering to federal, state, and local guidance in accordance with vaccination status

  • Hygiene protocols as recommended by the CDC should still be promoted within the workplace, including hand washing and sanitizing, and should continually be reinforced, with signs and postings educating employees. (Consider refreshing your signs with new designs at regular intervals to avoid desensitization.) Sanitizing supplies should also be regularly stocked in common use areas and near common use equipment such as kitchens, lounges, eating areas, at printing stations, and in conference rooms.
  • Building checks may need to be performed by the building management to verify safety for re-entry. Employers should consider any new layout that allows for social distancing and enhanced air ventilation and circulation. This might include physical barriers, floor markings, and the use of outdoor space or windows.

Remember that reopening is a process, one subject to ongoing assessment and demanding flexibility, not necessarily a single "grand reopening" event.
Beyond these safety guidelines, think about your own employees’ needs and wishes, which you may have garnered from a survey or feedback sessions. In many cases, private employers can impose rules that are more prudent than the guidelines put forth from government agencies (i.e. requiring, recommending or allowing all employees to wear masks regardless of vaccination status) but this should be carefully considered and communicated in consultation with legal counsel.
Avoid regarding or messaging a reopening as a return to pre-pandemic normal operations and working conditions. Expectations have changed for both employees and customers.

Review the Littler COVID-19 business reopening guide.

In addition to the general considerations mentioned above, it may make sense to look into a third-party solution to help you navigate the return to work.
Justworks’ customer Audere, for example, has developed a HIPAA-compliant technology solution called HealthPulse Navigator™ that helps staff track and report symptoms, communicate with employers about their health status, and access the resources needed to get well. Using technology like this can help employers with the insights they need to anticipate staffing challenges, support sick employees, and prevent workplace transmission while adhering to CDC recommendations and return-to-work guidelines.
As a Justworks member, your benefits-eligible employees already have access to One Medical (where available). One Medical has built a customizable return-to-workplace solution called Healthy Together, which takes into account a number of factors, including your industry, current infection rates in your area, and your office design to help meet your return-to-work needs. The solution also includes comprehensive testing solutions, daily digital health screenings, workplace safety recommendations, 24/7 access to care, and employee communication resources.
If you choose to pursue requiring proof of vaccination from your employees, and if it is allowable for your business to corroborate this information, you might consider looking into whether your state has developed a tool to verify this information, such as New York’s Excelsior Pass.

One Medical has built a customizable return-to-workplace solution called Healthy Together.

Be sure to review OSHA’s Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace, originally released in January 2021 and thereafter updated. The OSHA website also has a host of other information for employers, including industry specific return to work guidance.
Additionally, take a look at CDC employer information for reopening office buildings, which will help employers consider whether their building is ready for occupancy, where and how their workers might be exposed to COVID-19 at work, and develop engineering and administrative hazard controls.
State and local law will also have a direct and substantial impact on employers’ approach to reopening the physical office environment. You can check out this resource with state-by-state guidance (navigate to the section titled "Developments by State").
The ratio of square footage to number of employees will have a significant impact on whether any floor plan modifications will be required. Can your floor plan and workstation layouts permit employees to work at least 6-ft. away from the next person? If not, partitions or cubicles that meet federal, state, and local guidance and regulations will be warranted.
Common areas should be reassessed across the board and reworked for safe social distancing measures. Common areas include any mutually accessible area by employees other than their workstations. For example: kitchens, lounges, shared equipment (such as printers), meeting rooms, training rooms, and bathrooms.
Scope and frequency of cleaning will need to be increased, and should include routine daytime cleaning. Sufficient distancing of seats, tables, equipment, and appliances will also need to be taken into account.

Review some best practices and general safety guidelines to help you prepare the workplace.


Employee Experience

Employees’ vaccination status will likely have the greatest impact on their comfort level with returning to the physical office environment. The CDC has issued guidance that vaccinated persons can resume activities without wearing masks or physical distancing.
While you might consider allowing your vaccinated employees to return to the office without wearing masks, private employers may choose to impose rules that are more stringent than the guidelines put forth from government agencies. This might include requiring, recommending or allowing all employees to wear masks regardless of vaccination status, any of which should be carefully considered and communicated.
In line with CDC guidance, create a COVID-19 workplace health and safety plan, and communicate this to employees to reassure them of your diligence in maintaining a safe workplace for everyone. Some states, such as New York, are requiring the development of written safety plans.

Support the mental health of you and your team to help you overcome workplace anxiety.

Many U.S. offices will return to the office under a hybrid model. The hybrid model features a mix of in-office employees, with those who continue to work remotely, and features a unique set of challenges.

Firstly, consider how you will decide which employees will be called back into the office, which will be permitted to remain remote, and on what basis. Try to align these determinations across whole departments or business units, so that there isn’t the perception or reality of inequitable treatment within or among teams. For example, teams whose work output rely on individual contributions, less collaborative workstreams, and a bias for “deep work” might be more conducive for continued remote work; whereas highly collaborative teams may be encouraged to return to the office.

Consider also that worker preferences vary, even among the same teams or job functions. Therefore, affording employees the freedom of choice might prove to be a prudent strategy for some organizations. Many employers have adopted a “remote first” model, where the presumption for almost all roles is remote work, with the option to report to an office if an employee so desires.

The hybrid model also incorporates intermittent work from home (WFH) privileges for employees who will at least partially return to the office.

Read our blog on how to implement a hybrid workplace environment.

According to Prudential’s Pulse of the American Worker Survey, as of March 2021, 68% of American workers say having the ability to work both remotely and at the worksite is the ideal of the modern workplace.
In light of this, some companies have implemented a 3-2 working model, where employees will report to the office 3 days/week and work remotely from home on the remaining two days. These days from home might be deemed meeting-free or meeting-light days, so as to encourage deep work and individual productivity as alternated with collaborative problem solving on in-office days. A study from Stanford University from before the COVID-19 pandemic found that worker productivity was 13% higher for remote workers. In addition to increased concentration, this productivity boost was attributed to fewer breaks and sick days.
Before rebuking partial remote work opportunities for all employees, consider that Prudential’s survey also stated that 1 in 3 workers would not want to work for an employer that required them to be onsite full time. By the same token, 2 in 3 remote workers believe in-person interactions are important for advancing their careers. Therefore, the hybrid work model might be the ticket to worker satisfaction and engagement.
As for converting to a fully remote working environment, this model is being adopted by an increasing number of organizations but to-date they are the exception to the rule. When making the decision whether to reduce or eliminate your company’s physical footprint, a big factor to take into consideration is your rent. This is typically a company’s second-biggest expenditure after payroll. Could some of that rent money be better spent elsewhere upon moving to a more remote team structure? Are there opportunities to use some extra cash to bolster your rainy-day fund or help you invest in new initiatives? This could be on the business side (pivot, expansion) or people side (think better health insurance, ancillary benefits, maintain raise/promotions).

Read our blog on how to implement a hybrid workplace environment.

Arguably the foremost challenge of the hybrid working model is the unavoidable dynamic of two classes of employees -- those who come together at the office, and those who collaborate virtually from home. Most office workers have become comfortable with virtual meetings, and organizations will likely be well-served to maintain virtual meeting rooms even when some attendees will gather in physical conference rooms. For example, every attendee might be expected to bring their own device and headphones to the meeting in order to attend via video while also present at the conference table. This permits remote employees to be full collaborators, without the communication barriers that frequently arose in hybrid meetings before the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the biggest and most important adjustments to consider when shifting to a more remote-friendly policy long-term is to overhaul (or create) your performance management process. Regular feedback is more crucial than ever, and when considering a longer-term WFH reality, you should determine whether your current system is up to the challenge. Feedback between employees and managers needs to be regular and intentional.
Make sure that your communication infrastructure serves your employees well. Collaboration should be possible across multiple platforms with varying degrees of immediacy (e.g. chat v. email) and intimacy (e.g. video conferencing v. shared working docs).

Get guidance on the tools and resources needed to make a seamless transition to remote work.

Many parents may have younger children who are not yet eligible to receive vaccines. Therefore, a return to the physical office may be a riskier proposition for them than for other populations. In addition to the viral ramifications of potential exposure and transmission to their children, this transition may induce a heightened degree of anxiety out of obligation to their children’s health in addition to the possible stressors of returning to closely quartered indoor activities such as office work.
From a lifestyle perspective, remote work has presented both challenges and opportunities for working parents. Returning to a physical work location, even on a hybrid basis, will likely present a whole new set of challenges. To get a better sense of how to support your workforce, ask what working parents need, what about the past few months has been the most difficult and what arrangements/accommodations have made their lives easier.
Another consideration might be to contribute to employees’ Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA), from which employees can be reimbursed for the work-related cost of care for a qualifying dependent. This can provide some financial relief for employees who place their children in day camp, daycare, or after school programs. Conversely, if your employees’ children’s regular place of education or care is closed due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19, flexibility at work might be of greater value than financial relief. Consider your state and local regulations to determine what efforts might provide the greatest relief to your employees.
In many cases, flexibility at work means a modified or variable working schedule regardless of work location. When asking parents how you can support them, feel free to make some pre-approved suggestions and see if these are amenable to them. For example, for employees who work a regular 8-hour day, they are given full discretion over when in the day they work those 8 hours. This could mean starting and ending the workday earlier or later, frequently alternating on and off-hours (e.g. 2 hours on, 1 hour off), or two or more split shifts (e.g. early morning and late night).

Read our blog to learn how to best support working parents.


Policies & Requirements

The question of whether your company is required to provide accommodations under applicable law is a fact-specific determination that will depend on an individual's health condition, among other factors. Here are some things to consider:
Vulnerable Employees
Employees in many different circumstances may be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 or be facing other circumstances in their lives which may merit accommodations, if available. These may include employees who:
  • Are age 65 or older
  • Exhibit comorbidities or belong to a sensitive group
  • Share a household or engage in regular contact with, or are caregivers for, individuals who are 65 or older or exhibit comorbidities or other sensitivities that might make them higher risk for developing serious health conditions as a result of exposure to the coronavirus
  • Are parents or caregivers of minor, dependent children
  • Exhibit mental health conditions that might undermine their sense of psychological or physiological safety with respect to workplace conditions, their effectiveness in their role, and/or their ability to socialize freely with friends or family.
Required Accommodations
As a general matter as it relates to COVID-19, if an employee has a medical condition that qualifies as a disability (under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or state or local law) and puts them in a higher risk category during the pandemic, or if COVID-19 exacerbates their disability, you will likely need to engage in a good faith, interactive process to determine if there is a reasonable accommodation that will allow them to perform the essential functions of their job.
A reasonable accommodation is one that does not present an undue burden on the employer. For example, if the employee is able to perform their role remotely, you may consider providing this as an accommodation. Or, you could explore other potential accommodations. The EEOC has provided detailed guidance on this topic that you may find helpful, but you should examine all requests on a case-by-case basis, and discuss particular circumstances with your legal counsel.
Employer-Provided Accommodations
Note that many of the circumstances listed above do not, standing alone, require an employer to provide a reasonable accommodation. For example, employees of age 65 or older, while vulnerable to COVID, are not covered by the ADA unless they also have a qualifying disability. In any event, the CDC and EEOC recommend employers be flexible with accommodation requests by employees with health concerns surrounding COVID-19, even if you are not required to provide an accommodation under the law. As an employer, it’s important that you have a plan for addressing these requests in an equitable way, and do so while keeping the health and safety of your team at the forefront.
Other Considerations
Be sure not to involuntarily exclude any individual or group from the workspace solely based on their vulnerability (actual or perceived) to COVID-19. While you may have your employees’ best intentions in mind, doing so may violate the law, such as the ADA or Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
For more information, check out this guidance from the EEOC or discuss with your counsel.

Learn about COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and other EEO laws you should consider when providing accommodations for employees.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has stated in its guidance that employers may require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to perform in-person. Still, employers must consult all state and local guidance regarding mandatory vaccination and ascertainment of vaccination status, and think about the level of risk within the organization. As these discoveries will likely implicate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as an alternative, you could consider encouraging and incentivizing employees to receive the vaccination rather than requiring it and create workplace policies that accommodate both your vaccinated and unvaccinated populations.
Depending on your location, if you have a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated employees here are some potential approaches to reopening policies that you might be considering.
  • Treating all workers in a similar fashion regardless of vaccination status and without requesting vaccination status, adhering to the guidance for unvaccinated individuals
  • Where allowable, having employees self identify by way of the honor system as vaccinated and symptom-free or unvaccinated and symptom-free and adhering to federal, state, and local guidance in accordance with their vaccination status
  • Where allowable, requesting proof of vaccination and treating those who do not submit proof as unvaccinated, and adhering to federal, state, and local guidance in accordance with vaccination status
If your workplace requires mandatory vaccination as part of your return-to-work strategy, you will likely be obligated to initiate the interactive process to reasonably accommodate an employee who does not get vaccinated due to a disability or sincerely held religious belief. A reasonable accommodation is one that allows the employee to continue performing the essential duties of their job without presenting an undue burden on the employer. The EEOC has provided detailed guidance on this topic that you may find helpful, but you should examine all requests on a case-by-case basis, and discuss particular circumstances with your legal counsel.

Review the policies and procedures in this checklist to help inform your return-to-work strategy.

Leave under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) is no longer mandatory for covered employers (requirements expired Dec. 31, 2020), but may be offered on a voluntary basis. Employers who choose to offer paid leave under the FFCRA should publish a corresponding leave policy in line with federal requirements, and make available to employees a leave request form.
Beyond this voluntary federal paid leave benefit, many states and localities have enacted laws requiring certain employers to provide paid leave for COVID-19 related reasons, some of which are similar to the reasons qualifying leave under the FFCRA, and some are specific to paid vaccination leave. You can check out and subscribe to The Scoop for information about these laws. Paid time off for vaccination related reasons may need to be requested and recorded separately from existing paid leave allowances. You can set up paid time off for your employees via Justworks.
Employers implementing COVID-19 related paid leave policies should also be mindful of their other requirements under pre-existing laws. For example, eligible employees of covered employers may be entitled to unpaid, job-protected FMLA leave and for reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Many state and local laws also provide other paid or unpaid family and medical leave, and non-COVID-19-related paid or unpaid sick leave that are in addition to leave under COVID-19 paid leave laws.
Remember, you can always be more generous with your leave policies and provide more than the minimum amount of leave your employees are entitled to by law, whether it’s additional sick leave, vacation leave or other types of time off.
Employers should consult an attorney regarding their compliance with the COVID-19 paid leave laws and other leave requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Follow federal requirements for implementing a FFCRA mandate.

Every employer should be sure to closely monitor state and local return-to-work plans in each location where you have employees reporting to a physical workspace. Many states are regulating the types of required safety measures and/or allowable vaccine-related inquiries depending on the industry or work environment, among other things. Check out this handy COVID-19 State Reopening Guide to find more information about state-specific reopening plans and how they may impact your return to work plan.

Review the policies and procedures in this checklist to help inform your return-to-work strategy.

If you have not already done so, your company is likely going to want to review, update, and/or create some new policies in light of COVID-19 and your return-to-work strategy. Consider whether you want the changes to be temporary or permanent policy changes, and how that might impact decisions on whether to address them in your employee handbook or in standalone policies. In any event, be sure to discuss with your counsel to make sure you have all of your bases covered.
Refer back to the Workplace Safety section for some topics you may want to address via a written and distributed policy
Some topics that you might want to address include in-person health and safety protocols, paid and/or unpaid leave policies, and reasonable accommodation.
When addressing your policy on visitor access to the office: e.g., consider whether you want to temporarily restrict any non-essential visitors from entering the workspace. If allowing visitors, consider having them confirm in writing, before they come on site, that they are following CDC and OSHA COVID-19 guidelines.
When addressing your policy on business travel, consider temporarily restricting any unnecessary business travel, or restrict travel to domestic only. If travel is necessary, create a formal policy to illustrate and confirm in writing that employees will follow CDC and OSHA COVID-19 guidelines according to vaccination status.
When addressing your policies on paid leave, employers should also consider revisiting their existing vacation, sick and other leave policies in light of COVID-19. COVID-19 related leave policies should remain separate for tracking and documentation purposes, but, for example, do your policies compel employees to stay home if they have symptoms of COVID-19? If they are partially symptomatic but otherwise feel reasonably well, does the policy address working from home? Another consideration might include parental leave policies that provide for a period of remote work following the non-working leave period.
With respect to stay home and remote work policies, consider circumstances where employees may not feel sick enough to call out, but pose a potential threat to the health and safety of their colleagues. For example, some minor symptoms of COVID-19 might easily be attributed to allergies or other less severe illnesses like the common cold. Therefore, it is advisable to make a clear list of symptoms that, if employees demonstrate, compel the employee to follow CDC guidance. Another aspect of your policy might be to spell out that employees should refrain from physically reporting to work if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, or who demonstrates symptoms of COVID-19. Don’t leave it up to employees to determine if they feel “well enough” to come in. A thorough and standardized list of preconditions for reporting to work should be delineated in writing.
With respect to considerate and careful communication you may want to circulate a policy or plan around COVID-19 and vaccine related discussions and rumors in the office. Many employees will want to know the status of their co-workers or simply catch up on the last year, and may feel that discussions surrounding the vaccine or COVID-19 diagnosis is a means to do so. While you cannot necessarily control what employees voluntarily disclose, you can lay ground rules that vaccination status and diagnoses are private and confidential information and should be treated as such. Be sure managers are well trained with respect to any inquiries that will implicate these health and confidentiality laws and employee protections.
It is crucial that employees are proactively trained on your new policies, and that the import of these measures is fully explained to garner understanding and inspire diligence. Rather than simply providing an intimidating list of new policies and regulations, show your employees the new protocols and procedures through demonstrations and visual examples. Lighten employees’ mental load by making the new way of working as intuitive as possible. For example, effective signage in common areas, meeting rooms, and walking paths can help employees more easily adapt to the new reality of office life.

Train managers on the new policies and emphasize the importance of enforcement. Regularly reinforce these requirements with employees, explaining why they mitigate risk and are important for safeguarding the health of their colleagues. Finally, assure employees that retaliation against employees for reporting policy violations will not be tolerated. Leadership should lead by example, and take steps to proactively foster a culture of compliance where safety becomes second nature.

Review the policies and procedures in this checklist to help inform your return-to-work strategy.


Planning & Strategy

Interviewing new hires in a hybrid workforce, where some employees work remotely while others work in a physical workplace setting, can challenge the communication styles we’ve adapted to amidst remote work during the pandemic.
You should take measures to engage equally the employees who are back in the physical workplace and the employees who have remained remote. A successful hybrid workplace will leverage technology to foster connection and collaboration between all employees, whether they’re right next to one another or separated by a screen.
Lastly, be aware of the state and local employment laws that apply to your remote employees. Justworks operates in all 50 states and D.C., and can assist with crucial compliance items — such as withholding, reporting, and remitting payroll taxes, and obtaining workers’ comp and state unemployment insurance.

Read our blog on how to implement a hybrid workplace environment.

It’s likely that the involuntary WFH situation has highlighted some opportunities for your business to be more flexible. If that’s the case, assess which roles can effectively be performed remotely and leverage the productivity metrics now at your disposal to ascertain remote effectiveness during COVID-19.
You’ll need to ask yourself some questions, like:
  • Am I permitted to open under state and local orders? If so, at what capacity?
  • If I do modify my physical workplace to accommodate a return to work, what would that entail? Would the cost to the employer and mental load for employees make a net positive impact on productivity and effectiveness?
  • Does the importance of bringing employees together outweigh the risk of increased exposure?
  • How will I screen my employees in order to safeguard the safety of my workforce?
  • How will the business address employees who refuse to return to the physical office environment, or whose health precludes them from doing so?
  • How will this impact the cohesiveness of my workforce and affect collaboration?
  • How prevalent is COVID-19 in not only my state, but my county or locality?
  • Are cases on the rise?
  • How will the business respond to a potential second wave of infections that warrants another shutdown?

Read our blog to learn about the changes to consider for open office plans amid COVID-19.

In the context of COVID-19, employees who rely on mass transit may be hesitant to use these methods to report to work. Encourage employees to follow CDC guidance on using transit safely. If feasible, consider offering employees incentives to use forms of transportation that minimize close contact with others (e.g., biking, walking, driving or carpooling).

If you're considering calling back employees, review the CDC's guidance on transit safety.

It depends. If the employee has a qualifying medical condition (under the ADA or state or local law) and puts them in a higher risk category during the pandemic, or if COVID-19 exacerbates their condition, you will have to engage in a good faith, interactive process to determine if there is a reasonable accommodation that will allow them to work. If the employee is able to perform their role remotely, you may need to provide this as an accommodation. If not, you could explore other potential accommodations. The EEOC has provided detailed guidance on this topic that you may find helpful, but you should examine all requests on a case-by-case basis, and discuss particular circumstances with your legal counsel.
As an employer, it’s important that you have a plan for addressing these requests in an equitable way.

Keep in mind employees' medical conditions that qualify as disabilities and put them at higher risk to COVID-19.

Waivers are no replacement for maintaining a safe workplace. Additionally, you may have difficulty enforcing waivers in certain jurisdictions, particularly with respect to workers’ compensation or OSHA issues. If you are thinking of going this route, be sure to consult with an attorney about these issues and consider intangible factors, such as the message that a waiver may send to your employees. Also consider other steps you might take that may provide some protection to your company, such as having employees acknowledge new workplace safety rules and procedures in writing before re-entering the workplace or having employees, who have the option of working remotely, certify that their presence in the workplace is voluntary.

Read why waivers are not an adequate solution over maintaining a safe workplace.

Access to mental health and wellbeing services can be crucial for employees who are struggling with the hurdles of returning to an office setting.
Justworks has teamed up with leading mental health and wellness partners Health Advocate, Talkspace, and Kindbody to ensure your team can access resources that help them thrive during challenges.
Health Advocate is a national healthcare advocacy and assistance company that provides unlimited, confidential access to a dedicated consultant to help employees resolve healthcare and insurance-related issues.
Additionally, Health Advocate offers 24/7 access to confidential counseling services for a range of mental health needs. This includes unlimited use of the phone number and up to 3 in-person sessions with a local counselor at no additional cost.
Learn more about accessing Health Advocate’s services through Justworks.
Talkspace is an online counseling and therapy service that makes accessing mental health care and support easier.
Talkspace provides online, unlimited asynchronous mental health messaging therapy (text, video, audio) offered as an equivalent alternative to traditional face to face therapy with a dedicated therapist.
Learn more about Justworks’ partnership with Talkspace.
Kindbody is a network of gynecology and fertility clinics focused on improving the healthcare experience for people with fertility, contraception or pregnancy care needs.
Kindbody also provides additional services to support their health journey. Nutrition coaching, mental health counseling, and back to work coaching are also offered through Kindbody.
Learn more about accessing Kindbody’s services through Justworks.

Read our blog post on how to deliver the right benefits and perks in a remote environment.


Note: This information is changing rapidly. We will update this page as we learn more.