Should I screen my furloughed or laid off employees if they come back?

Furlough. Layoffs. Remote employees. The arrival of COVID-19 created a tidal wave of change for businesses of all sizes. As retail and office spaces begin to reopen, HR departments and leadership will be working together to establish return-to-work plans focused on safety, operational efficiency, and government-mandated protocols. Depending on whether employees were furloughed, laid off or able to work from home, businesses will need to take a close look at their new employee processes. Businesses need to determine whether it is necessary for them to be screening furloughed employees. 

Were your employees furloughed or laid off?

In most cases, it’s not necessary to implement the hiring process for furloughed employees. Legally, they remained an employee. So while you may not need to go through an application process,  reviewing contracts, salary, and benefits may be necessary. This could also be a good time to conduct a new screening of furloughed employees.

Lay-offs terminate existing contracts. If a business would like to re-employ an individual, it’s in their best interest to treat it as a new hire. It may be possible to relax some procedures, but weigh the risks before you change anything. Consider each layer of your process and carefully determine why or why not it’s necessary to follow each step. This should include everything from application forms to background checks. Furthermore, be prepared to explain to your re-hires that these screenings are in the best interest of the company moving forward.

Is this a good time to review state and local laws?

As leaders discuss plans for reopening, in addition to reviewing policies and employee handbooks, it is just as important to review current federal, state and local laws. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, if a former employee is rehired within three years of the origination date of the original Form I-9, employers have the option to either use the same form or complete a new one. Electing to utilize the previously completed form could help streamline the hiring and onboarding processes. This will allow you time to screen re-hires.

Businesses considering bringing employees back can also consider a solution that isn’t simply keeping all processes or eliminating others. When it comes to background screening, our team can work with yours to build a customized background screening program. We can help minimizes risk and supports your hiring process and goals. You may not yet know if you’ll re-screen returning members, but our services can give you confidence in your decision.