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The Fraught Post-Pandemic Transition For Employers

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May 18, 2021

The ninth annual employer survey from labor and employment firm Littler finds that employers transitioning to a post-pandemic workplace are faced with a host of novel issues. Chief among them is a disconnect between what they have in mind and what employees would prefer with regard to hybrid work models and returning to physical work spaces. “Employers are eager to bring their teams back together in person but are hearing from employees and applicants who value the option to work remotely and feel they have shown they can be productive while doing so,” said Devjani Mishra, a leader of Littler’s COVID-19 Task Force and Return-to-Work Team. “Addressing this tension raises a host of legal and practical considerations.”

Tensions related to vaccinations remain a major area of concern. Employers, having to decide whether or not to ask employees if they have been vaccinated, face potential privacy and discrimination issues, and many are cautious. Forty-one percent of respondents said they will ask employees to voluntarily disclose, 32 percent said they will not, and 27 percent were still unsure. Meanwhile, nearly half of respondents said they were offering paid time off for employees to receive the vaccine and recover from side effects, if necessary. That’s up from 33 percent who said they would do so per a Littler survey only two months earlier.

Among the other issues addressed were sick leave, family leave, equity and diversity, health care, planned changes in work space and scheduling, and regulation. About three-fourths of respondents were concerned about compliance and enforcement with regard to the Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.’

Littler’s ninth annual employer survey summarizes and analyzes data gathered from 1,160 in-house lawyers, C-suite executives and HR professionals.

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