Establish policies for closing the workplace and include client sites, if applicable. Detail who decides if the office will be closed, who must report, who and how employees should notify of their status, and if / when employees will or will not get paid. Be sure to stipulate that the employee’s safety is the most important priority.
Research employee pay requirements and options. If paying employees is voluntary, establish a maximum time limit so you are not obligated to pay indefinitely.
Implement communication plans to keep in touch with your employees and clients. Utilize multiple methods in case some are not available when needed.
Back up any critical files so operations can resume as soon as possible, even if remotely.
Afghan Refugee Work Authorizations
When researching the potential workforce status of the thousands of refugees who were air-lifted out of Kabul in anticipation of their arrival in the US, we learned that the Afghan refugees who were permitted to seek asylum in the US will be brought to various military bases where they will be vetted and processed, including for work permits, before being moved to more permanent locations. The whole process could take several days or several weeks depending on various factors, but we know that refugees are already being welcomed into communities across the country.
As for work authorizations, the refugees will probably fill out Form I-360 which specifies Afghans who assisted the US (probably the Special Immigrant Visas) and we believe they will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) I-766 which would fall under Document A for Form I-9 employment verification. At this time we have not found any Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Afghan refugees.
American citizens or permanent residents who were evacuated will be processed quicker, only having to wait until they test negative for COVID, so they may enter or re-enter the job market sooner.
If you need any assistance with researching an issue that impacts your business or preparing for worst-case scenarios by drafting policies and procedures, please contact us at Affinity HR Group. No matter your problem, we’re always here to help. Connect with us at contact@AffinityHRGroup.com or 877-660-6400.