November 13, 2020: Can You Restrict Your Employees’ Holiday Travel?

Gusto Editors

November 13, 2020

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Can you restrict employee travel over the holidays?

After eight months of the pandemic hampering travel and social interaction, many folks are eager to reconnect with their families and friends around the country—especially during the holidays. But with the CDC advising against personal travel, what should your travel policy be this holiday season? Can you ask your team not to travel?

According to the employment law pros at Shawe Rosenthal LLP, the answer is “complicated”:

Employers can require employees to report on personal travel and can require compliance with CDC travel restrictions. Whether other travel may be prohibited depends on state law. Some states have legal off-duty conduct laws that prohibit employers from taking any adverse employment action based on such conduct, which would include travel. In states without such laws, employers may likely prohibit such travel and/or may take disciplinary or other action based on such travel.

In sum, restricting travel may or may not be an option in your state. But there are a couple things you can do to keep your team safe should they choose to travel. You can:

  • Require employees who travel to CDC Level 2 or 3 countries to self-quarantine for up to 14 days before returning to work.
  • Ask employees who have traveled to self-monitor and report any COVID-19 symptoms or exposure.
  • Require employees to get tested after they travel. Note that it can take up to 14 days for the infection to appear, so consider pairing this requirement with an out-of-office waiting period.  

Just remember, there can be implications when you ask team members to take time away from work. To learn more about your options as an employer, check out the full report or chat with a legal advisor.

For our veterans

This Wednesday was Veterans Day, and we’d be remiss to observe the holiday without recognizing the mighty community of veteran small business owners. That’s why we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight a veteran-specific business certification program.

The Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program is a federal contracting certification. The federal government’s goal is to give at least 3% of its contracting dollars to these veteran-owned businesses every year.

If your business qualifies, learn how to get certified here.

State props, explained

Last week we went over several local measures that passed around the country. Two states in particular have multiple new regulations that can impact businesses and their teams. If you operate a business in California or Colorado, check out our breakdowns on the new rules:

Editor’s note: We previously mentioned that Portland, Oregon’s Measure 26-218 passed and would implement a payroll tax to fund transportation projects. This was inaccurate; the measure failed to pass. Thank you to our reader who pointed this out!

Top relief options for the week

  • Ohio’s Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund provides $2,500 assistance payments to on-premise liquor permit holders to help them through the pandemic. Applications will be accepted through December 30, 2020.
  • Pasco County, Florida has set aside $1,000,000 from the CARES Act to reimburse small business owners for purchasing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Pasco County will provide reimbursement on a first-come, first-served basis through an online application. The cap has been raised to $1,500 per business.
  • Rhode Island’s Coronavirus Relief Fund will provide grants between $2,000 and $10,000 to bars and restaurants that have been impacted by the local order mandating early shutdown. Applications will be accepted through December 15, 2020.
  • See more relief options in our Small Business Relief Finder.

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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