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Sunday, November 1, 2020

Can an organization forbid worker travel throughout COVID-19 pandemic? Ask HR


Johnny C. Taylor Jr., Particular to USA TODAY
Printed 7:00 a.m. ET Oct. 6, 2020

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Johnny C. Taylor Jr., a human assets knowledgeable, is tackling your questions as a part of a collection for USA TODAY. Taylor is president and CEO of the Society for Human Useful resource Administration, the world’s largest HR skilled society.

The questions are submitted by readers, and Taylor’s solutions beneath have been edited for size and readability.

Have a query? Do you have got an HR or work-related query you’d like me to reply? Submit it here.

Query: I work for a nonprofit with websites in Florida and Texas, states the place COVID-19 circumstances proceed to rise. Our firm has already mandated that workers put on masks whereas out within the subject. Nonetheless, we’ve been battling with what the group can and can’t require after work hours. Can we prohibit private worker travel since they’re frontline staff? – Nameless

Johnny C. Taylor Jr.: Whereas the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health authorities are urging Americans to limit travel, it’s possible you’ll not prohibit workers from touring inside the U.S. or to different international locations. 

This may increasingly appear to contradict the steering obtained by many workplaces from their native and state well being departments, however it’s price breaking down the “why.”

Many states have “off-duty” conduct legal guidelines. Merely put, these stop employers from proscribing an worker’s after-work actions – assuming such after-work actions are authorized. 

That stated, you possibly can – and will – encourage workers to stay cautious and conscious whereas touring. It could possibly be a easy reminder, or, you possibly can go as far as to advise towards nonessential travel to identified COVID-19 hotspots. In any case, it’s not nearly this one worker, however the remainder of the corporate and maybe your purchasers, too.

It’s additionally price noting whereas an employer could also be unable to ban an worker’s private travel, they will set up agency security insurance policies and protocols that have to be adopted by workers inside the office. This may increasingly embody requiring workers to inform an employer of travel plans to a state or metropolis that’s thought of a COVID-19 hotspot.

Or, if a touring worker returns from a high-risk space, you possibly can mandate they self-quarantine for 10-14 days earlier than they return to work to maintain themselves secure and shield their colleagues from probably getting the virus. Different choices embody permitting an worker to earn a living from home, if relevant, or have them use paid or unpaid depart till the incubation interval has handed.

COVID-19 has definitely created a brand new set of challenges for employers, however no course of or coverage can presumably erase threat – at the least not fully, anyway. Taking sensible measures to safeguard the office and shield your purchasers may also help stop publicity with out infringing on workers’ private actions outdoors of labor. 

I hope this helps, and I hope you keep secure!

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Q: My boss is organizing a team-building afternoon. The final time she tried to do that, I declined. I didn’t know that it was a ‘work’ factor. I used to be instructed she was disenchanted that I did not attend. I actually do not need to go. Is there a solution to politely decline, or if I’ve to attend, can I embody this occasion on my timesheet? – Nameless

Taylor: Thanks for writing. We’ve all confronted work occasions we’d reasonably not attend and spend that additional time with household and associates as an alternative – belief me, I do know. However with greater than half of the American workforce at dwelling, many employers are looking for new and inventive methods to interact their employees and guarantee groups keep linked.

Right here’s the brief reply: Certain, you possibly can decline to take part in your work’s crew constructing occasions. However what would this say about your angle towards your job, boss, and crew? Saying no may find yourself hurting your relationships along with your supervisor or colleagues, and it’s possible you’ll miss out on a key skilled development alternative.

I need to emphasize your boss seemingly isn’t doing this to take time away from work or to easily schedule one other assembly. Fairly, managers put collectively team-building actions to foster a extra inclusive atmosphere and to create a stronger sense of group amongst your crew.

Technically talking, in case you are an hourly worker required to attend conferences or different work-related occasions, you ought to be paid – and the speed of pay have to be at the least minimal wage. This time would additionally rely towards additional time. Chances are you’ll need to verify your worker handbook or speak to HR to clear up any confusion. 

When you actually don’t want to take part, you possibly can respectfully discuss your emotions along with your supervisor. You don’t point out what the team-building exercise is, but when your cause for not attending is because of lack of consolation or perhaps a medical cause, they might perceive.

In the end, whether or not or not you select to attend is as much as you. Nonetheless, on the finish of the day, these actions are about your individual skilled growth, and how one can higher work along with your crew to succeed in your objectives and enhance the corporate’s backside line.

Given how 2020 has modified the office, it may be onerous to really feel motivated and linked at work. I encourage you to not consider team-building workouts as a chore or one other merchandise in your to-do checklist, however an opportunity to make new connections, study extra about how your teammates assume and work, and even have some enjoyable!

Learn or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/cash/enterprise/2020/10/06/can-company-forbid-employee-travel-during-covid-19-pandemic-ask-hr/3619625001/

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