The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, but the Public Health Emergency is ending. A pandemic has a specific definition, and that is still happening. But the emergency has a different definition, and that is over. This may call for changes in your workplace.
You will now be legally allowed to make changes in health coverage. For example, your workplace will no longer be required to furnish COVID-19 testing or vaccinations at no cost to he workers. You nay also have more flexibility regarding healthcare coverage. You might choose not to cover Telehealth visits, for example.
However, you will also now be required to allow a special enrollment period for 60 days from the end of the public health emergency. If you are making changes, you should let affected workers know as soon as possible so that they will be able to file claims or to make any changes in coverage they need before the deadline.
If you have been mandating vaccinations, you may need to revisit those rulings, though not all employers will have to change their requirements. Check with your legal counsel if you are not sure.
Coming back to the office
Manufacturers will typically have been in place through much of the pandemic, but office workers may have been working remotely. Many companies are ready to bring everyone back on site, but not all workers are ready to return. If you still have remote workers, this is a good time to decide whether they can continue to work remotely.
You may need to reexamine attendance policies or to negotiate with individuals who feel unsafe returning to work. Many employers, according to Forbes, are tempting workers back with incentives such as 4-day work weeks or pay raises, while some are allowing hybrid lans. However, some 90% of employers expect to have their staff back in the building this year.
At the same time, some facilities may choose not to check temperatures as workers enter the building or may relax masking requirements. There are no federal laws on these subjects, so it may depend on your community or your population.
An attitude of gratitude
While there are big decisions to make and not everyone is agreed on the best route to take, it’s good news that the public health emergency is officially over.
Thankfulness for an end to the emergency may help us all to weather the changes.