After the end of the emergency due to Covid-19, companies must review their health protocols

Jorge Cervantes, director of Labor Business School, explained in an interview that this review must be conducted by all large, small and medium-sized companies.

Note published on May 24 in El Sol de MéxicoFinanzas [Finance] Section by Bertha Becerra.

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After the end of the health emergency due to Covid-19, companies must take new actions given that, in terms of the publication in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF) on May 9, they now have the obligation of reviewing the labor agreements that were entered into to handle labor relationships during the Sars-Cov-2 pandemic.

“New action plans are required in face of the disappearance of the health emergency, but Covid-19 persists. It is an endemic disease. We need to learn to live with it”, Jorge Cervantes, director of Labor Business School, said in an interview

He considered that it is also necessary to know “the conditions that we will be facing when wintertime peaks come around: what type of vaccination, with what periodicity. It is necessary to review all of the health protocols once again and see which practices should remain in force or which ones should be resumed.

Each workplace will determine whether they will continue with good hygiene measures, healthy distance, face masks, etc. Each one of the work centers will have to have a “tailored made” solution, he told El Sol de México.

This review must be conducted by all large, small and medium-sized companies. They all have to be evaluated, he specified.

Once the announcement was made in the DOF [Official Gazette of the Federation], the validity of various agreements issued by the General Health Council (CSG) and the Secretary of Health at the time, to take extraordinary actions on the matter, was ended, as explained by the director of  Labor Business School, of the De la Vega & Martínez Rojas Law Firm.

“The fine point to be reflected on is that Covid-19 is an endemic disease that we will have to get used to living with.”

Let us remember a little about when we were at the highest points of Covid-19. A series of rulings and recommendations were issued, including total isolation and the prohibition of working at companies.

This changed gradually until we reached what we know as the “new normality”.

But this does not mean that we should forget those work cases or conditions that must prevail, such as hand washing, healthy distance, the use of face masks, depending on the line of business.

For example, there is no doubt that these measures should prevail in hospitals. Also in restaurants.

But the protocol will be different in any other type of business or company and, thus the need for reviewing what were the commitments that were made with the workers and with the union during the health emergency.

Vulnerable employees must be cared for

Hence the importance of taking the conditions of each company or business, as well as the vulnerability of its employees or workers into account; that is, obese people or those who suffer from high blood pressure or diabetes and taking special measures for this type of workers. Also pregnant or lactating women, reviewing all of this to check whether those conditions are in place.

Considering those workers who, due to the emergency, had to work at home. Check whether they fall within the conditions for teleworking or not. Particularly because the determination of NOM-039 in regard to teleworking will be published soon.

All of these government factors and policies in regard to Covid-19 must be reviewed, to verify whether some of them are in force, and which should be modified or, if applicable, added.

In regard to NOM-039 Jorge Cervantes said, “last week the response to the notes was shared, thus, publication in the Official Gazette of the Federation will come at any time, because the deadline for it has passed.”

Can teleworking prevail? What is your opinion?

– Teleworking can prevail provided that the elements of the work to be conducted are defined in a previous study. Whether they are suited for the activity or not.

Perhaps a hybrid modality is required, in which it is not considered as remote work and it doesn’t exceed 40 percent of the time that is worked.

All of these elements must also be reviewed in order to verify whether they meet the standards of this mode or not.

Was working at home a good option for many women?

– Yes, of course. But, in this case, the fundamental essence is to harmonize the needs of the company and the needs of the worker, for this activity to prevail. For example, a call center could probably be run as teleworking.

But a customer service center does not necessarily have to be conducted as teleworking. Hence the importance of conducting a very detailed study of the responsibilities and needs in order to see whether they are met with these teleworking modes, he explained.

It is recommended that each company, in line with the particularities of its work environment, reviews and updates the established policies in order to consider the validity or updating of its work relationships.

The review of social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, the review of teleworking, fostering vaccination. Also prevention and control measures at work and within families; periodic risk evaluations and action plans to minimize exposure to the virus, particularly in wintertime.

That is, each one of the actions that was taken in the past three years must be analyzed. Keeping those that permitted a positive work environment and climate, yes, but with a growth in productivity.

Additionally, the review of the agreements or covenants entered into with the workers and the union as a result of the Covid-19 health emergency, which has already ended; but new changes are coming, though, Jorge Cervantes emphasized.

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