Many businesses had to make the tough decision to reduce or restructure their staff during the pandemic. At the beginning of this year alone, Statistics Canada reported that 200,000 jobs were lost as jurisdictions implemented stricter public health measures due to the Omicron variant. But with restrictions easing, employers are now getting ready to welcome back team members.
If the pandemic was the first time you had to lay off or place employees on leave, you may be wondering what happens now that you want them to return to work. There are a lot of factors to consider, from your legal obligations to health and safety measures. Here are our top three tips for recalling employees who were temporarily laid off or placed on a COVID-19-related leave.
1. Be transparent and communicative
Employees who were laid off or placed on leave are dealing with heightened stress and concerns about their livelihood and career. Open and honest communication is essential. Keep employees updated about the recall process, as well as their employment conditions and workplace health and safety requirements. Regular updates will also keep them connected with their workplace, so they can feel more engaged when they return to work.
Give your employees as much information as you can and encourage them to ask questions along the way. Put yourself in your employees’ shoes—in a time of uncertainty, anything you can do to support and reassure them may help ease their anxiety.
2. Stay flexible
COVID-19 has led to countless changes and has taught employers the importance of adaptability. The pandemic continues to be a fluid situation, so keep up to date with public health measures. Whether there are government mandates or not, remember that it is your duty as an employer to protect the health and safety of your employees.
As you recall employees, there are many considerations for the workplace now that restrictions have lifted. You should also consider how to best support your employees as they transition back into their work routine. This could be through workplace accommodations, flexible work arrangements, or showing employee appreciation.
3. Start planning early
Recalling employees is not as easy as calling them up and asking them to come back to work tomorrow. The recall process requires substantial planning. It’s best to get organized and ask yourself key questions early on so you can be fully prepared. As you begin planning, you may have questions such as:
- What are my legal obligations when recalling employees?
- What health and safety measures need to be in place?
- In what order should I recall employees?
- What if an employee refuses to return to work?
To help you with these questions and more, we have put together a FREE guide that covers the key considerations for recalling employees from temporary layoffs or COVID-19-related leaves. Download our Guide to Recalling Employees to get started!