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As you prepare to resume business operations following the COVID-19 pandemic, you may need to expand your workforce.  What considerations should you keep in mind at this unique time?

About Interviewing

Protection and consistency are the two key factors when it comes to interviewing at this time.

  • Consider using video interviewing to keep applicants and interviewers safe. But be consistent; use the same method for all candidates. Keep nondiscrimination laws in mind: if video interviewing would disproportionately limit a protected group from having access, seek out another method, such as phone interviews.
  • If your only alternative is in-person interviewing, keep federal, state, and local regulations in mind. In addition to face masks, options include limiting candidates to a certain area in your workplace, sanitizing interview spaces before and after each meeting, and setting up partitions to separate applicants from interviewers.

Can You Screen Candidates for COVID-19?

Under federal law, you are permitted to screen job candidates for COVID-19, after you have made a conditional job offer, as long as you follow the same practice for all entering employees in the same type of role.

  • Note: There are different rules for screening current employees.
  • Taking a person’s temperature is considered a medical exam. You may not do so until after making a conditional offer. And remember: Some people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic, so you may want to consider an alternate screening practice.

New Hire Paperwork

The same basic employment paperwork is legally required, with a few adjustments initiated in light of the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • While the time frame for Form I-9 submission remains the same, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced in March that employees are temporarily allowed to inspect related documents remotely, in certain situations. This time period was initially through May 19, but the DHS extended it for another 30 days.
  • The DHS has also issued a temporary policy for driver’s licenses that have expired and could not be renewed due to DMV closures. Generally, you may accept List B documents that expired after March 1, as long as the follow DHA protocol. Candidates have the right to choose which ones to present, as long as they are on the I-9 List of Acceptable Documents.

What About Background Screens and Drug Testing?

Consult with your legal counsel before deviating from your normal background screen policies. If yours is a regulated industry, check with state and/or federal enforcement agencies for the current status of drug testing rules.

About the FFCRA

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) allows employees to take two types of leaves at this time:

  • Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL), or
  • Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL)/Expanded FMLA

All employees are entitled to use EPSL, regardless of their length of service. To qualify to PHEL/Expanded FMLA, an individual must be employed for at least 30 calendar days prior to the leave.

The staffing experts at PrideStaff Modesto are up to date on all current federal, state, and local hiring guidelines, including those applicable to the COVID-19 pandemic. Let us help with your employment needs at this time, so you can focus on the health and well-being of your workforce and your business. Contact us today to learn more.

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