Welcome Back Employees & Customers

As employers begin to take the important step of safely and responsibly re-opening their physical locations and welcoming back their employees and customers, they will meet many unique challenges. Some have re-furbished their product lines to make the personal protective equipment that is currently in high demand, and will need to re-train their workers. Others are working through childcare issues that have arisen since the pandemic. Guidance on these factors, including employment opportunities for out-of-work Pennsylvanians, can be found below.

Step 1: Making Them Feel Safe

For Employees:

  • Communicate the steps your company is taking to keep employees and customers safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • In addition to setting guidelines so that sick employees stay home when sick, employers are also being encouraged to allow continued telework if applicable, along with videoconferencing or teleconferencing when possible for work-related meetings and gatherings.

  • Conduct virtual sales calls, and carefully consider whether travel is necessary.

  • Support respiratory etiquette (masks) and hand hygiene for employees, customers and worksite visitors through tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles, soap and water, and hand sanitizer in multiple places at the worksite. While not all industries can allow social distancing – for example, beauty salons and casinos; they can modify these requirements with mandatory mask use, increased sanitation practices and limiting the number of people allowed in the facility.

  • Place posters that encourage hand hygiene to help stop the spread at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen. Discourage handshaking – encourage the use of other noncontact methods of greeting.

  • Direct employees to visit the coughing and sneezing etiquette and clean hands webpage for more information.

  • Establish protocols for when an employee or someone they are in close contact with has been exposed to COVID-19, as outlined in this guidance document from the PA Department of Health.

  • Provide supports for staff to ensure their mental and emotional well-being – including the implementation of employee wellness programs or staff emergency leave or funds.

  • For more tips on steps businesses should take to ensure a safe return to work, check out this U.S. Chamber Foundation webinar

For Customers:

  • Communicate the steps your company is taking to keep employees and customers safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • Limit the number of customers in the facility to ensure appropriate distancing, along with visual markers on the floors for six-foot distancing, per CDC guidance.

  • Offer curbside delivery instead of in-store pick-up, drive-through services, call-ahead services, and other ways to ensure limited physical contact.

  • Add plastic barriers/shields at registers.

From PCI: HR Tips on Ensuring a Healthy Return to Work

Step 2: Address Real-World Challenges

  • Childcare: The closure of childcare centers and schools as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic presents challenges for employers working to get their facilities up and running and their employees back to the jobsite. Site capacity limits; staff personal protective equipment needs; financial concerns for childcare centers; and higher safety and cleanliness standards than ever before are among the many childcare-related topics that will need to be addressed as Pennsylvania gradually gets back to work. A recent U.S. Chamber Foundation webinar explored this issue in depth; and our “Bringing PA Back” Policy Guidelines also call for an extended school year into the summer to help alleviate childcare dilemmas for many who are returning to work. Business owners are encouraged to be as flexible as possible with their employees when working to address these challenges.

  • Re-skilling. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented opportunities to re-imagine how work is conducted. Not only will working remotely become a more common way of life, but according to this Forbes article, a focus on skills training will be critical in the immediate future as companies focus on “recruiting candidates with the skills and capabilities they need rather than on their degree pedigree”.  This issue is multi-faced, given that a focus on re-entry for former offenders can pose challenges (many individuals with criminal records will be competing for jobs with laid-off workers who do not have a criminal record); and in higher education – as the pandemic has led to issues related to smaller class sizes, lower enrollments and uncertainty about the fall semester.

Step 3: Promote Employment Opportunities

In an effort to combat the rise in unemployment that was an unfortunate result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the PA Department of Labor and Industry has launched a comprehensive employment site — a new COVID-19 job portal for Pennsylvanians who are looking for work at life-sustaining businesses.

Life-sustaining businesses can feature their job openings on the portal through an easy to use online form. Businesses must meet the criteria of a life-sustaining business and must have more than 10 job openings.

The PA COVID-19 Job Hiring Portal is an active, robust site with a complete listing of businesses’ jobs openings, offering persons seeking immediate work excellent employment opportunities all in one place.

We thank all employers looking to hire additional employees for promoting your hiring announcements and trying to make sure that all those seeking employment during these very challenging times have a place at an in-demand job right now.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or medical advice; all information, content, and materials on this site are for general informational purposes only. 

The issue of childcare and the workplace in the COVID-19 era will be explored in the 2020 Early Learning Economic Summit that’s being hosted by the PA Chamber, Team PA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

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