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Most Organizations Planning to Pay Hourly Workers Infected with COVID-19

North American employers are stepping up for their hourly employees amid the coronavirus outbreak.


This is according to a survey by Willis Towers Watson, which found that majority of employers will continue to pay hourly workers who test positive for the virus (72%), whose workplace experiences a mandated closure (54%), or who have a cold or flu-like symptoms and voluntarily stay home (51%). 

However, only about one-third of companies (36%) will continue paying hourly workers when they stay home because they don’t have childcare.

“Most employers are standing by their hourly employees, at least in the short term,” said Adrienne Altman, managing director, North America lead, rewards, Willis Towers Watson. “While many employers are still working to determine their overall strategy for responding to COVID-19, we see consistency in how they plan to manage pay for the affected portions of their hourly workforce.”

According to the survey, most companies that will continue to pay hourly employees plan to do so for 10 to 15 days, with the typical organization doing so for 14 days, at 100% of their current base rate, although that will vary based on the circumstances.

For organizations that are paying employees under these conditions:

  • For employees with a confirmed COVID-19 case, 87% of employers will pay them 100% of their current rate.
  • For employees whose workplace experiences a mandated closure, 94% will pay them 100% of their current rate.
  • For employees with a cold or flu-like symptoms who voluntarily stay home, 92% will pay them their full pay rate.

More than four in 10 companies (44%) will pay employees who can’t perform their duties at home but are involuntarily required to stay home due to quarantine at either 100% or less of their current rate without them having to draw from their paid time off.

“While the recent enactment of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act will now require certain employers to provide paid leave for eligible hourly employees, it is reassuring that so many employers were already willing to do the right thing and provide pay to their hourly employees during this challenging time,” said Deirdre Macbeth, content director, regulatory, at WorldatWork.

Most employers (75%) don’t have plans to offer special treatment to employees who report to work when other employees are required to stay away from work.

However, more than 10% of employers have plans or are considering a range of options to recognize these employees, including adjusted (situational) overtime, additional paid time off to be used after COVID-19-related disruption and other forms of recognition. 

About the Author

Brett Christie Bio Image

Brett Christie is the managing editor of Workspan Daily.

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