- More than half of employers surveyed by XpertHR have been asked by employees to provide accommodations, a July poll of 276 human resource professionals found.
- Reasoning behind such requests stemmed chiefly from increased vulnerability to the novel coronavirus (77%), HR professionals reported. Next up came a fear of returning to the worksite (61%), childcare issues (58%) and disability (33%).
- In response, the vast majority of employers (92%) are offering remote work options. Nearly two-thirds reported they allow modified work schedules or alternate shift assignments. And 60% said they provide personal protective equipment or modifications to it.
Accommodations rank among the most important aspects of employers' response to the unfolding pandemic.
First, several federal laws require employers to accommodate employees. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates that covered employers provide qualified employees reasonable accommodations. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces the ADA among other employment laws, calls out in guidance how the accommodation facet of the law applies to the pandemic.
"There may be reasonable accommodations that could offer protection to an individual whose disability puts him at greater risk from COVID-19 and who therefore requests such actions to eliminate possible exposure," the agency says.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed into law March 18, generally requires that employers with fewer than 500 employees provide employees impacted by the pandemic two buckets of emergency paid leave. The law expanded the Family and Medical Leave Act to guarantee paid leave for employees who need to care for children whose schools or childcare providers closed due to COVID-19.