Global Labor and Employment Law Strategic Topics – 2020 Edition, Issue 1

It is in difficult times like this, that we can fully appreciate the need for close collaboration between employer and employees to appropriately address the multiple challenges related to a pandemic.

As the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 continues to accelerate in Europe and throughout the world, it is essential for employers to plan appropriately for contingencies both to protect the health, safety, and well-being of their employees and to minimize business disruption.

What steps should employers take?

  • Communicate clearly and regularly with all of its people — employees, independent contractors, and external partners
  • Keep on top of the latest government and World Health Organization guidance as it evolves
  • Designate a person or team responsible for business continuity and the COVID-19 response as the situation develops
  • Implement adequate health and safety measures, including specific measures for pregnant employees or those with existing health vulnerabilities
  • Decide on an approach to working from home: encourage employees to work remotely if possible and require employees with symptoms to stay away from the workplace
  • Decide on a plan to handle employees who are at high-risk or subject to quarantine; inform employees on special rules for those returning from high-risk countries
  • Ensure that emergency contact details for all of its people are up to date
  • Put in place a contingency plan for workplace closure by making sure that employees have all necessary equipment to work remotely and encourage employees to take their equipment home with them every day • Carefully monitor business and other travel as well as visitors to the workplace

Technology has permitted a shift toward a labor market where the boundaries between working time and personal time have become blurred. Indeed, the ultra-connected digital age which enables employees to be available 24 hours/7days a week/365 days a year and the pressures of responding to a tsunami of emails across different time zones, has its advantages and disadvantages.

We are now seeing some of the advantages, as many employees are able to work remotely and thus reduce the spread of COVID-19. However, the work-wherever-you-are mindset can also create a strain on the health and safety of employees.

So how can employers adequately safeguard the health and well-being of their employees? Employee health and well-being is vital for the success of any corporation; it is no understatement to say that it is one of key issues on the radar of HR professionals worldwide in 2020.

In this issue, we explore the rules and must-do advice for employers that require attention to ensure the well-being of human resources throughout 37 countries worldwide.

The full publication can be accessed here.

EY Law key contacts:

Roselyn Sands

EY Global Labor & Employment Law Markets Leader

Paula Hogéus

EY Global Labor & Employment Law Leader