How Companies Address The COVID-19 Pandemic

Goals

To provide information on what companies are doing to address the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on how human resources processes have changed during this period.

Early Findings

Retail companies in the U.S. are looking to China for guidance on what to do when life will start slowly returning to normal in the country.

Apple had announced in March 2020 unlimited sick leave for all its hourly employees if they experience COVID-19 symptoms. Moreover, it was not required for the employees to submit a doctor’s note.

Starbucks introduced an Employee Assistance Program, which offers free counseling support to all the employees. In addition, the company announced free mental health for all U.S. employees and eligible family members. The benefit includes free access to 20 sessions per year through Lyra Health, a mental health benefits provider.

Engine Group initiated a meditation series called Zen@Home. These series are optional for the employees and offer recommendation on how to get through the day with better mental and physical health.

Goodway Group created an online performance, the “Family Fun Friday” for employees with kids. It included music, songs and magic and according to the company's statement, they did that to cheer up its staff, as it is hard to work from home with the kids. Similarly, Vox Media launched a "daily story time" via Zoom.

When schools closed in Washington, Microsoft decided to offer up to three months of paid parental leave to employees facing school closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Walmart in Canada is offering all its 90,000 workers access to live online physician care.

In China, companies with the help of the state launched a new program, the "employee share". This refers to the temporary hiring of an employee from an industry that was inactive to an industry where there was an immediate need. For instance, as most of the restaurants were closed, waiters could work for super-markets or transport providers.

Zillow, the real estate marketplace announced that it will allow for its employees to continue working from home also when the pandemic ends.

Meredith's highest-paid employees received cuts ranging from 20% to 40%, while the rest of the staff saw a 15% pay cut. Employees taking a pay cut will receive one day of paid leave per week for four months.

Mondelez announced an increase in hourly wages by $2 and a $125 weekly bonus for sales representatives. The company also announced that any U.S.-based employee that was impacted by COVID-19, will receive up to two additional weeks of paid leave at 100% of pay.



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