Although shelter in place orders, temporary business closings and employee work-at-home procedures remain in place for many businesses due to COVID-19, CPA firms in some states are starting to consider how best to reopen their offices and return their employees to the workplace. This isn’t as easy as just turning a key to start a car. There are significant issues that CPA firms must consider before they can welcome employees back. Key questions impacting return to work planning from a people perspective include:
1. Do you have the right physical protection measures in place for your employees and clients?
- What set of health and behavioral protocols will be needed?
- Will employees be screened by taking temperatures or some other method?
- Will there be available and adequate COVID-19 testing for your employees?
2. How can your firm properly implement changes impacting workforce planning and the workplace environment, such as social distancing, eliminating work space sharing, working remotely, flexible or staggered work hours, and so forth?
3. What changes are needed to your existing human resource policies regarding health and welfare, compensation concerns, leaves of absence, stress management, work furloughs and reductions in force?
4.What resources and advice will you provide to employees to help them protect family members from infection?
5. How can you prepare your managers and other firm leaders to properly communicate with employees and clients to build trust that the new protocols are adequate and supportive of their continued health and financial wellbeing?
A variety of legal issues are raised in connection with return to work policies. Prior to implementation, firms should consult with legal counsel with expertise in applicable federal, state and local employment and privacy laws and regulations. These laws can vary substantially by jurisdiction. Additionally, jurisdictional issues apply to both where the employee is working and where firm offices are located. To the extent an employee may need to visit a client location or meet in person with a client or other employees, applicable state and local laws and quarantine rules must be considered as well.
Join Aon’s professional liability specialists, Dave Sukert and Stan Sterna, to learn about issues of immediate concern impacting the accounting profession as a result of COVID-19.
The team will provide risk mitigation guidance to help firms successfully navigate the current crisis.
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• Dave Sukert, Esq., Senior Vice President, Aon
• Stan Sterna, Esq., Vice President, Aon
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