As employees return to work, HR managers prepare to deal with ‘long COVID’
August 04, 2021
Most companies are taking situations with long COVID one step at time, with many relying on existing time off and disability frameworks, said Domenique Moran.
“For the last 17 months or so, employers have been reeling because every day. There is a different law, a different threat, a different set of obligations. And so I think the way in which they are managing these things is to take it one step at a time,” she said.
It’s vitally important, from the employer perspective, that HR managers speak to the employees, find out what they need, Moran said. “Find out why they’re asking for what they’re asking for, and then decide whether that’s an accommodation that’s reasonable, or if there’s an alternative accommodation that can meet the employees needs,” she says.
She also warns companies against jumping to conclusions about workers. “We can’t assume that someone is not experiencing long COVID, but we shouldn’t assume they are,” Moran said. Instead, employers should rely on documentation from medical professionals when evaluating whether to grant employees additional leave or accommodations.
And that may go beyond simply allowing employees to continue to work from home. “We have to be careful in thinking that remote work is the answer,” Moran said, adding that employers may need to be prepared to offer shorter workdays and more breaks throughout the work day.
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