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What Employers Are Doing to Contend with COVID-19 — March 27

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.

CEOs Stepping Up

Texas Roadhouse CEO Foregoing Salary and Bonus
Kent Taylor, CEO of restaurant chain Texas Roadhouse, is foregoing his salary and bonus from March 18 through Jan. 7, 2021 and the money will be used to pay front-line workers, MarketWatch reports. The chain said it is also suspending its dividend as it moves to conserve cash during the coronavirus pandemic.

Hotel Giant CEO Foregoing Salary
Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson announced that he will not be taking a salary for the remainder of 2020 to help stem the financial cost of the coronavirus pandemic, reports Yahoo Finance. Sorenson added that Marriott’s executive team will also be taking a 50% pay cut for the rest of 2020.

Airline Executives Attempting to Soften the Blow
Delta, Alaska Air, United, Southwest, JetBlue, Allegiant, Spirit, IndiGo’s and British Airways CEOs have all announced they’re taking some variation of a pay cut to assist workers amid the devastating losses from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Yahoo Finance. Among the most drastic:

  • Delta CEO Ed Bastian and the board of directors will forego their compensation over the next six months
  • Alaska Air CEO Brad Tilden is cutting his base salary to zero.
  • United CEO Oscar Munoz and President Scott Kirby will forego their base salary through June
  • Allegiant CEO Maurice Gallagher and President John Redmond are taking a full pay cut.

GE CEO Giving up Salary
General Electric Chairman and CEO H. Lawrence Culp Jr. will give up his full salary for the remainder of 2020 and the vice chairman of GE and president and CEO of GE Aviation, David Joyce, will give up half of his salary starting April 1. 

Talent Agency Doing Its Part
Beverly Hills-based United Talent Agency CEO Jeremy Zimmer and co-presidents Jay Sures and David Kramer will give up their salaries for the rest of 2020, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Marc Benioff Issues ‘No Layoff” Challenge to CEOs
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is calling on CEOs to take a 90-day “no layoff pledge” as part of an eight-point plan to end the coronavirus crisis.  

Telemedicine

The Importance of Telehealth
This Mercer article centers around a survey where only 16% of employers said they are advertising telehealth or digital health options for non-epidemic issues so employees avoid unnecessary care in hospitals. The authors explain why this could be a missed opportunity for employers to educate their employees about existing telehealth solutions.

Coming of Age Amid a Pandemic
This Employee Benefit News article notes that as the coronavirus pandemic spreads, many workers are increasingly turning to their employer-provided telehealth options. Among the most used applications of telehealth have been in the mental health space, as more employees are utilizing mindfulness and meditation support.

California Expanding Telehealth Services
On Tuesday, California’s Emergency Medical Services Authority unveiled new details to make telehealth services more widely available across the state, reports NBC Bay Area. The state is attempting to expedite the process for out-of-state doctors hoping to practice telemedicine in California as well.

How Health-Care Providers Are Optimizing Virtual Care
The American Journal of Managed Care writes that as the regulations surrounding telehealth continue to be modified, health insurance providers have enacted their own emergency plans to protect and care for beneficiaries. The article outlines how these providers are responding and increasing their capacity to keep up with the prevalence of telehealth requests.

Companies Rope in Mental Health Experts for Teleworkers
Microsoft, P&G and Deloitte are among companies that have sought professional assistance to help employees tackle the psychological turmoil from prolonged social distancing in India, reports the Economic Times of India.

Layoffs, Extended Leave, Furloughs and Hiring Sprees  

DSW Parent Putting Employees on Unpaid Leave
Designer Brands Inc. is putting 80% of its employees on unpaid leave, reports the Columbus Business Journal. The parent company of DSW Shoe Warehouse said the unpaid leave would begin March 29 as it tries to stunt the impact of coronavirus on its sales.

CVS Is Hiring
CVS Health plans to immediately fill 50,000 full-time, part-time and temporary positions across the country, the company announced earlier this week. The job opportunities include store associates, distribution center employees, customer service professionals and home delivery drivers. Much of the hiring will be done virtually, the company said.

Some Companies Are On a Hiring Spree 
At a time when millions of Americans are losing jobs at restaurants, hotels and airlines because of COVID-19, a few large companies are in the midst of a hiring spree, writes NPR. These companies include supermarkets such as Kroger and Albertsons, pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens and convenience stores likes Dollar General and 7-Eleven. 


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