The spread of COVID-19 continues to threaten the lives of millions, but businesses across the country and globe are beginning to reopen in order to avoid economic calamity that could spread even further harm. There is thus a desperate need to balance between the needs of workers and employers as we slowly but surely reopen our economy, something that’s often far easier said than done. Many entrepreneurs want to protect their workers but lack health expertise, for instance, which is creating many reopening conundrums across the marketplace.
As it turns out, we need not necessarily choose between economic vibrancy and worker safety. Here’s a review of how we can balance the needs of workers and employers alike as we begin to recover from COVID-19.
Liability protections could be coming
Republican lawmakers, particularly Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, have made it clear that they will resist the passage of additional stimulus measures for the economy until wide-ranging liability protections for businesses are enacted in Congress. This means that liability protections could – and likely will be – forthcoming, as the Senate Majority Leader has a strong grip on his caucus and is unlikely to relent. While the White House and Congress continue to clash on this issue, there are good reasons to believe that liability protections will be offered in some form or another.
Nevertheless, employers won’t be entirely free of liability as we begin to reopen. More importantly, questions of liability need to be set aside so that workplace safety can be our foremost concern. Luckily, the CDC and others have provided helpful guidance that can be leveraged in the pursuit of balancing workers rights and employer needs in the days ahead.
All employers should set time aside to review the CDC’s recommendations on office buildings and how to go about reopening them. Fail to do this, and you may end up creating a hazardous work environment that weighs upon your conscience and generates legal challenges. Having a good employer of record is always recommended. Having a workplace health and safety plan is always important, but in this day and age it’s more important than ever before. Hiring outside health specialists may be worthwhile, especially if your business hires workers who are uniquely at-risk of COVID-19 or suffer from pre-existing health conditions.
Everyday employees should also read up to ensure they know their rights. Legal resources are available to help you if you feel as if you’re being exploited. You can only count upon yourself when it comes to your personal health and safety, so work hard to ensure that your employer is doing everything needed to keep your work environment clean and safe