July 17, 2020: The COVID-19 Guide to Updating Your Employee Handbook

Gusto Editors

July 17, 2020

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Your employee handbook is more important than ever before

Work looks a lot different than it did four months ago, and your employee handbook needs to keep up with the times. In many ways, it’s a more important people management tool than ever before; the world is an uncertain place and your employees have a lot of questions. They want to know they’ll be safe and protected when working for you.

That said, updating your handbook is admittedly kind of a pain. So we’ve broken it all down for you. Here’s your definitive guide to the COVID-19 version of the employee handbook. The piece covers: 

  • Remote work guidelines and travel policies
  • Leave policies at both the federal and state levels 
  • Workplace safety and social distancing requirements 
  • COVID-19 testing policy
  • Ensuring non-discrimination for employees who may have contracted COVID-19
  • How to distribute and continually maintain your handbook

If you don’t have a handbook already, here’s how to get started with creating one. Even better, if you’re a Gusto customer, you should be able to find a handbook template inside the app. If you’re not a Gusto customer, sign up with us now.

Working parents are struggling and need your help 

One of the less-talked-about effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the exhaustion of working parents. They’re trying to stay productive on the job while simultaneously caring for their children. You may already have found ways to support the working parents at your organization, but if you haven’t, here are seven recommendations for you. 

One of the suggestions includes helping defray your employees’ childcare costs—and getting a tax break in return. Sounds like a win-win. 

EIDL’s advance program has expired, and other headlines from the week

  • ICYMI, the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance Program is out of funds. This program provided cash grants of up to $10,000 to EIDL recipients, but the $20 million in allocated funding has been spoken for. However, you can still apply for an EIDL loan of up to $150,000 with automatic payment deferral for a year. The Paycheck Protection Program ( PPP), of course, continues to have billions in its coffer as more businesses continue to repay their loans or return the money. The government’s next move is anyone’s guess: Reports suggest that 46% of the businesses that took PPP loans will continue to need support in the coming months. Legislators are also discussing an additional round of PPP funding targeted toward the “hardest hit” businesses.   
  • A new bill introduced in the Senate would allow businesses to receive automatic forgiveness for PPP loans under $150,000. This would qualify about 85% of PPP borrowers to get automatic forgiveness.  
  • Do you have recommendations on how to make COVID-19 FMLA requirements better? You can share them with the Department of Labor through their request for information in the Federal Register. 

Want more small business news and resources? Check out past editions in our archive.

Gusto Editors Gusto Editors, contributing authors on Gusto, provide actionable tips and expert advice on HR and payroll for successful business management.
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