Nextep's 2021 Annual Report is here! See what we accomplished together this year.

What Mask Mandates Mean for Your Business

Woman Mask Desk

Please visit our COVID-19 resources page with more information for business owners and employees.

As COVID-19 cases continue to increase, mask regulations for public spaces are becoming more common in many cities. 

Nextep is here to provide guidance for your business by answering commonly asked questions. You can find more about wearing masks or face coverings from the CDC

We’ve answered a few common questions but it is important to first follow local regulations when determining requirements for your business.

Are my employees required to wear masks or personal protective equipment (PPE) while working? 

Employees should continue to follow their routine procedures for PPE for their job tasks. The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings where social distancing is difficult to maintain. 

Our business is not open to the public, do these mandates apply?

First follow local regulations. If your business is able to keep workers at least six feet apart and they aren’t exposed to the public, you can allow your employees to work without masks. Continue to encourage social distancing and consider requiring wearing masks in situations where social distancing isn’t possible. 

What if an employee states they have a health condition preventing them from wearing a face covering or mask?

Consider this a request for accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Requesting a doctor’s note can help verify this. If an employee is not able to comply with mask mandates because of a health condition, determine if there is an available accommodation. For example, having the employee work in an area where there is no interaction with the public or working from home. If there is no alternative option, consider a leave of absence. 

What if an employee refuses to wear a mask while working but has no health condition preventing them from doing so?

Much like with any refusal to follow a workplace rule, you should take normal disciplinary steps. This could mean removing an employee from their duties if wearing a face mask is required. 

Are employers required to pay for employee masks or face coverings?

Depending on your city or state mandate, employers may be required to provide face coverings to employees who have exposure to the public. Check your local regulations.

Can we require a certain style, color, or design of masks or face coverings?

Employers should provide face masks if they want their employees to wear a specific style. Certain states have stipulations for employers who require specific uniforms or dress codes to provide masks to their employees at no cost. 

What about masks at mealtime? 

Since we can’t eat and wear a mask at the same time, ensure employees can keep a good social distance while eating by rearranging your seating options in break rooms. Schedule lunch breaks so they’re staggered and the break room isn’t overcrowded. Provide products for employees to sanitize after using a space or items in the break room. 

My city or state isn’t requiring us to wear masks, but we would like to consider requiring them for our employees. Can we do that?

Yes. Be sure to review the questions listed here when creating the new rule and be prepared for any objections from your workforce. Reach out to your Nextep HR business partner for assistance. 

What if someone chooses to wear a mask when it may not be required and other employees make fun of them?

This would be considered workplace bullying and should not be tolerated. Follow proper disciplinary steps for the bullying employees and put a stop to it immediately. 

It’s important to make sure you’re following all local, state, and federal regulations as well as heeding the advice of HR experts. 

 

Need help developing procedures for your workplace? Contact your HR business partner or give us a call at 888.811.5150. Our experts are ready to help! 

Also on Nextep

We all know the importance of regular physicals and check-ups, but when was the last time you checked in on your mental health? May is Mental Health Awareness month, serving as a good reminder of how crucial a healthy mind is in the overall map of our wellbeing. This list and infographic can get you […]
Read more
If you’ve made it to this blog on leadership training, chances are you’ve spent some time with us the last couple of months as we dove into turning The Great Resignation into The Great Retention.  So far, we’ve covered flexibility, DEI, employee growth, pay, employee engagement, and benefits. While each of these is important, when […]
Read more
It’s no surprise benefits are one of the top reasons for employees staying with a company or going elsewhere. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) study shows that 36% of employees leave for better benefits. Employee retention can be daunting, but we’re here to break it down! Therefore, we’re talking today about benefits. We’ll look […]
Read more
Employee engagement is a crucial piece of the recruiting and retaining top talent puzzle. When it comes to employee engagement, few people in Nextep can speak more authoritatively on the subject than our very own Director of Happiness, Tracey Hixon. To help you get started, Tracey answers some questions about how to retain employees by […]
Read more
In our employee retention series, we’ve talked about flexibility, employee growth, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Now, let’s look at another topic that has a massive impact on attracting and retaining top talent: pay! The Great Resignation and the impacts of an ongoing pandemic have long-lasting effects. As a result, employees are evaluating their […]
Read more
Now is the time for employers to carefully review any arbitration or employment agreements they have in place. On March 3, 2022, President Biden signed the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act (HR 4445).  In cases of sexual assault or harassment in the workplace, many employers ask employees to sign arbitration […]
Read more
How often do you get the chance to expand beyond your current retention or recruiting strategies? It’s common for managers to get stuck in the daily work routine and overlook the growth opportunities their employees want. That neglect may mean a greater chance of talented employees leaving in the short run. Around 48% of employees […]
Read more
When employees can’t bring their whole self to work, they leave. Creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DEI) workplace is imperative to increasing employee engagement and retention. Also vital: talking to your employees about it “Black and Hispanic workers are more likely than white workers to say they’re actively looking for new employment opportunities,” according […]
Read more
The Great Resignation: a term most leaders are probably tired of hearing but can’t ignore. So, instead, let’s talk about The Great Retention! We know tackling retention can be a daunting task, which is why we’re here to help you break it down and take it one step at a time.  The Great Resignation Retention […]
Read more
Finding a PEO can be a daunting task. You should feel confident in your partnership with Nextep or any PEO for that matter. To ensure you do, we’ve put together a short checklist of questions to ask in your meetings with PEOs.  1. What accreditations and certifications do you hold?  A few credentials you’ll want […]
Read more
It’s important to know about upcoming changes to tax laws for businesses. Prepare your company’s budget with this cheat sheet! 2022 Tax Update Breakdown Social Security wage base First $147,00 of wages in 2022 FICA – Social Security (OASDI) 6.2%, up to the wage base FICA – Medicare 1.45% up to $200,000, then 2.35% (The […]
Read more
Along with the new year comes new minimum wages for several states on January 1, 2022, that employers should be aware of. As a reminder, when state law differs from federal law, employers must use the wage that benefits the employee the most. In this case, the state minimum wages are higher than the $7.25 […]
Read more

Download Our App