As businesses have begun trying to get back to normal, they’ve begun calling furloughed workers back and reopened limited operations to recover from the pandemic. But many workers express that they don’t feel safe about returning to an office or workplace where the COVID-19 virus may be lurking. How can an employee manage their worries about returning to work, and how can employers help ease these concerns?

If You’re Worried, Talk to Your Employer

It’s understandable if you’re worried about returning to work during this crisis. But don’t make the mistake of not sharing these concerns with your employer. You may suggest you wait a few weeks down the road in the hopes that things stabilize a bit more. This may even work to the employer’s benefit if they’re not quite ready to bring everyone back at once. Technically, if the employer offers you work and you turn it down you shouldn’t receive unemployment. With this approach, if the employer agrees to a compromise, your unemployment won’t stop during that time.

Do You Have a Health Condition Prohibiting Your Return?

You may not realize it, but if you have an underlying physical condition where your doctor suggests returning to work is too risky, Congress voted to allow you to stay home and collect unemployment. Immune deficiency, diabetes, and heart disease are all underlying conditions that can make COVID-19 infection very dangerous, and people in these situations should reach out to their employer and explain the situation. You should also explain the issue to your state unemployment office. According to an article in Forbes, that should allow you to stay on unemployment even if your employer wants you to return.

Is No Childcare an Issue?

If your job can’t be done remotely and you have children, childcare may still be an issue this fall. If daycares are closed and the schools are remote, how can you go back to work? Congress approved some help for these situations, as well. Some parents may even qualify for 12-weeks of paid leave, depending on the size of the business and the situation.

If You Go Back to Work

The point is that if you are worried about going back to work, have a conversation with your employer. You may find that their efforts to social distance, wear masks, and keep the office clean may set your mind at ease. Or, you may need to make some alternative arrangements even if they are temporary.

No matter where you’re working, make sure you follow your employer’s safety instructions for cleanliness and safety. Most states have specific rules they must follow to help keep the disease spread in check. When returning to work, it’s important to follow your employer’s policies and procedures related to illness, cleaning, and disinfecting. You should also stay home if you are sick at all.

The team at IES knows we are in this together. We are standing by to help you. If you have been laid off due to the pandemic, we have jobs available to help get you back to work. Contact our team today and be safe out there!

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