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What Employers Are Doing to Contend with COVID-19 — April 3

From CEOs foregoing their 2020 salaries, to direct efforts to help their staff’s local communities, many employers are demonstrating leadership and stepping up with bold people-over-profit decisions in the face of these tumultuous times.

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To date, states have taken a number of actions aimed at reducing existing barriers to testing and treatment for those affected by the coronavirus. The Kaiser Family Foundation has compiled a comprehensive list of specific policy actions, along with data on current COVID-19 cases and deaths. KFF also has gathered additional state-level data on health coverage and provider capacity within each state.

Additionally, Baker McKenzie has provided a global guide to 11 key issues facing employers amid the pandemic.

WorldatWork continues to monitor the situation as it relates to the workplace, with a list of 10 action steps, research on how organizations are handling various compensation, benefits and workplace decisions, and an exhaustive resources page with tips and information related to pandemic planning.

The following list of articles covers policies and practices companies have recently instituted to contend with the situation.

Keeping the World Working

Morgan Stanley CEO Promises No Layoffs This Year
Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman said in an internal memo that there will not be a reduction in force at the company in 2020. Gorman said the decision was made with 100% support of the company’s operating committee.

Citigroup CEO Assures Job Security
Banking giant Citigroup’s CEO Mike Corbat informed his more than 200,000 workers that the company will temporarily suspend any layoffs amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Bank of America CEO Committed to No Layoffs
In an interview on CNBC with Jim Cramer, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said the bank is committed to no layoffs in 2020. The company hired 2,000 people in March and raised the minimum wage to $20 an hour in the first quarter of 2020. 

Goldman Sachs and Others Vow ‘No Layoffs’
Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Deutsche Bank and HSBC CEOs have all vowed that they will be postponing decisions about staff cuts as the coronavirus outbreak hits their businesses hard.

Visa CEO said No Job Swiping in 2020
Visa chairman and COE Alfred F. Kelly Jr. informed his 20,000 employees that there won’t be any layoffs in 2020 related to the COVID-19 crisis.

FedEx CEO Doesn’t Foresee COVID-19 Layoffs
FedEx chairman and CEO Frederick W. Smith said during an interview on “Face The Nation” that his company is not projecting any layoffs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gravity Employees Take Voluntary Pay Cuts to Keep Business Afloat
Gravity Payments COE Dan Price made headlines five years ago when he released his plan to raise the minimum wage at his company to $70,000 per year. Now, as his business is taking a hit during the pandemic, his employees have decided to sacrifice to stem its losses. Price, determined not to lay off any of his employees, approached them for ideas. The employees volunteered to take pay cuts, each one choosing how much they could sacrifice individually, with a dozen opting to take no pay at all.

 

Good Corporate Citizenship

Sysco to Donate 2.5 Million Meals
Multinational food services distributor Sysco announced it will donate 2.5 million meals as part of its community response strategy to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sysco said it is closely collaborating with an array of critical stakeholders, from suppliers, customers, government entities and the non-profit sector, to address food insecurity and the added constraints on the food bank system during these challenging times.

Walkers Shortbread Staff to Receive Full Pay During Closure
Baking organization Walkers Shortbread Limited has closed all production operations with immediate effect but will still continue to pay its staff in full throughout the duration of the closure. All employees will receive 100% of their pay with staff working from home if they are in a position to do so.

Easyjet to Pay Staff 80% of Wages After Suspending all Flights
British airline Easyjet will pay all of its employees, who are unable to work from home, 80% of their average pay through the government’s job retention scheme. The agreement between the two parties means that for a period of two months, employees who are unable to work from home will be paid 80% of their monthly salary.

 

Hiring Other Companies’ Furloughed Workers

Kroger to take on Furloughed Sysco Employees
Sysco Corp. has entered into an agreement with The Kroger Company to provide temporary work opportunities for Sysco associates at certain Kroger distribution centers. Under this agreement, associates in the United States who have been temporarily furloughed due to the dramatic decline in foodservice demand from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, will have the opportunity to work at Kroger locations for 30 days, or more, as agreed upon by both companies.

American Staffing Association Helping Fill Void
The American Staffing Association launched an online directory allowing Retail Industry Leaders Association-member businesses deemed essential during the COVID-19 pandemic to find in-demand workers.

 

CEOs Stepping Up

Yum Brands CEO Forfeits 2020 Compensation
David Gibbs, CEO of Yum Brands, announced he will forego his salary for the rest of the year to redirect funds to employees. The Louisville-based public company will use the funds to assist two efforts, which include bonuses for each general manager of Yum Brands’ companies (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and The Habit Burger Grill) and providing financial hardship grants to those directly impacted by COVID-19.

Columbia Sportswear CEO Cuts Salary to $10K
Columbia Sportswear Company CEO Tim Boyle has cut his own pay to $10,000 a year and at least 10 top executives at the company took a voluntary 15% pay reduction. The company’s’ roughly 3,500 retail employees are receiving their regular paychecks under a “catastrophic pay” program.

 

Layoffs, Extended Leave, Furloughs and Hiring Sprees  

SeaWorld Furloughs 90% of Staff
SeaWorld Entertainment announced that it is furloughing 90% of its workers, as the coronavirus has forced the company to close its 12 theme parks. As of 2019, SeaWorld had 4,700 full-time employees and 12,000 part-time employees. Employees were paid through the beginning of this week.

Rent the Runway Lays off all Retail Employees
Popular clothing rental brand, Rent the Runway, laid off its entire retail staff via Zoom on March 27. The company, which primarily operates online, has brick and mortar locations in California, New York, Chicago, and Washington DC. All stores are currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the company is not sure when or if they will be able to reopen.

Gap Inc. Furloughs Workers
The San Francisco-based apparel giant announced on Monday that it will place the majority of its store teams in the U.S. and Canada on unpaid leave. The company has also decided to reduce headcount across its corporate functions, and the entire leadership team and board of directors are taking a temporary cut in pay.

Aldi Hiring More Workers, Rewards Current Staff with 10% Bonus
Aldi will pay store and distribution employees a 10% bonus due to their hard work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. To further aid its efforts, Aldi is hiring an additional 9,000 employees to support the store and logistics team.


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