Schedule Time for Employees to Prepare for Shifts

November 25, 2020 | 150 views

Schedule Time for Employees to Prepare for Shifts
Schedule Time for Employees to Prepare for Shifts

Each day, employees arrive at work during a pandemic and begin to arm themselves against interaction with possible virus-carriers. They wash hands, provide temperature readings, and sanitize more surfaces than ever before. And now, employers require personal protective equipment for nearly every job. This “dress-up” is a new experience, often based on recommendations from the Center for Disease Control. The PPE recommended for prevention of COVID-19 includes masks, gloves, face shields, and aprons—all intended to create barriers of protection for employees and those around them based upon their job requirements.

The rub for employers? It takes extra time—time you and employees must consider to be ready when their “real” working shift starts. Depending on the specific position and PPE needs, managers must provide time for workers to prepare for their shift.

Compensation for “Getting Dressed” for Work

Depending on your state location, employers are not required to pay employees when they are getting ready for work. Payment starts when the shift starts, and employees must be ready on time. Employees, though, have challenged this expectation in situations where they have to wear specific safety equipment. Several years ago, the Supreme Court clarified what “getting dressed” entails, and ruled largely in favor of employers. The Court singled out very few PPE items as non-standard and, therefore, deserving of extra paid time to put on in preparation for a shift.

However, we are in unprecedented times regarding employee safety protocols. Business owners have modified procedures, added methods for sanitization, and are continually scanning for new compliance requirements during a pandemic that could threaten the lives of customers and employees. It is important to comply with safety guidelines and encourage employees to be prepared when you need them to start the “regular” working shift.

The Scheduling Dilemma

More time is now needed for employees to dress for a riskier work shift. If you choose to schedule shifts to allow for uniform safety preparation, use reliable scheduling software to add the appropriate amount of time needed before and after a shift. And if any PPE or safety guidelines change, you can send real-time messages to update employees.

The pandemic brings daily updates, risks, and changes—making it tough to ensure employee safety. Scheduling extra time before a shift to ensure proper procedures is wise. We realize that choosing to specify extra time before a shift will cost more in wages, but we also see the benefits. You will be actively scheduling with good intent if legal requirements change as quickly as employee safety regulations do. And you can be confident that every employee will be ready to work their shift to move your business forward. Safely.

Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. For many years, Atlas Business Solutions has been named one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies.

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