[UPDATE: November 16, 2020]
Due to the disastrous course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation is now facing a difficult winter including the rollback of phased reopenings that have not worked to safely reopen society while keeping the infection rate at bay. Not unlike the movie “Groundhog Day,” the nonprofit sector along with the rest of the American economy and workforce will have to retrench. That will mean making plans again in a few months to move forward, albeit this time – hopefully – with effective vaccines. Employers will face a complex set of new situations and new rules.
[UPDATE: May 26, 2020]
The questions, confusion, and challenges facing nonprofit organizations with workforces continues as the laws and rules change. For the first two months or so of the pandemic, there was no clear answer when or if we can return to “normal.”
For the organizations with workers who have been deemed “essential” from the outset of the crisis, it’s been a matter of learning about, and implementing, all of the new guidelines and rules to maximize safety. A complicating factor has been the plethora of vague, ambiguous, and shifting recommendations and requirements from federal, state, and local authorities, and the challenges in reconciling them.
Now, with all 50 states moving to one degree or another, into stages of “reopenings,” many more organizations will face decisions about restarting operations that were put on hold or terminated entirely. They will encounter the same issues and complexities as the organizations which kept operating, in whole or in part, since March.
[April 6, 2020]
Among the many critical issues facing nonprofits in this pandemic crisis, few are as immediate as the matter of how to deal with the workforce challenges: retaining and paying staff under dire financial constraints and maintaining the health and safety of everyone connected with the organization.
The new reality of COVID-19 triggers existing regulations and requirements that apply in the case of infectious diseases generally. It has also created new layers of rules and mandates because of the unprecedented scope and severity of this pandemic.
And, of course, the many existing laws governing the employer-employee relationship remain in force and effect.
There are many questions – but few easy answers.