How Companies Are Taking Care of Their Employees During COVID-19

Coronavirus is transforming the way companies operate and manage their workforce. Let’s take a look into some employee-related initiatives that global companies are implementing.

March 20, 2020 By Kristina Martic Share on Twitter! Share on Facebook! Share on LinkedIn!

Coronavirus is here and it has a big impact on how companies are operating. Many employers are demanding remote work from their employees, and some of them had to send their employees on involuntary leave.  

This situation, therefore, has created fear among employees across the world.  

But what can employers do for their employees to make this situation as painless as possible? 

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Let’s now go over some initiatives that the world’s leading companies have implemented within their organizations.  

Google’s COVID-19 Fund 

Google has established a COVID-19 fund that enables all temporary staff and vendors, globally, to take paid sick leave if they have potential symptoms of COVID-19, or can’t come into work because they’re quarantined.  

In addition, Google has made their video conferencing service, Hangouts Meet, available for all G-suite customers until July 1, 2020. 

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Mark Cuban’s Reimbursement for Purchases at Local Small Businesses 

Mark Cuban did a great initiative to support both their employees as well as local small businesses who are struggling during these coronavirus times.  

They announced that any of his employees (including those who work for the Mavericks) will be reimbursed for any lunch and coffee purchases from local, independent small businesses. 

LinkedIn’s Learning Courses 

LinkedIn is opening up 16 of its learning courses for free. These courses are not only for their own employees but for the wider audience as well.

The courses provide tips on how to stay productive, build relationships when you’re not face-to-face, use virtual meeting tools and balance family and work dynamics in a healthy way. 

Amazon’s Hiring Wave and Raise 

Amazon is hiring an additional 100,000 employees in the U.S. to meet the surge in demand from online shopping amid the coronavirus outbreak, the company said Monday.   

The company is looking to add extra full-time and part-time positions for warehouse and delivery workers. Through the end of April, it will raise pay for these employees by $2 per hour in the U.S., £2 per hour in the UK, and approximately €2 per hour in many EU countries. 

Sweetgreen’s Food Services for Medical Staff 

Sweetgreen has announced it will start dedicating Outpost operations and teams to support “those on the front lines” (meaning hospital workers and medical personnel) by delivering free salads and bowls to hospitals in the cities it serves.   

&Pizza’s Food and Raise for Employees 

&Pizza is offering free, unlimited pizzas to their employees and their immediate families, as well as to hospital workers who show identification.

The company is also raising hourly pay by $1 and 14 days of “health and safety pay” to employees who have tested positive or who have come in contact with someone with coronavirus.   

Starbucks Mental Health Benefits 

Starbucks has extended its mental health benefits. In partnership with Lyra Health, Starbucks is offering its partners personalized, confidential mental health care, 20 free in-person or video sessions every year for partners and each of their eligible family members, online scheduling with most providers available within two weeks, and access to a provider network of mental health therapists and coaches. 

Starbucks is offering 20 free therapy sessions a year to all of its workers. This initiative was originally set to roll out in a few months, but they decided to start it early to help quell some of the anxiety workers face regarding the pandemic.   

Paid Sick Leaves at Companies Across the World 

Alphabet (Google’s parent company) created a COVID-19 fund to provide sick leave to affected workers globally, including all temporary staff, contractors, and vendors.  

Amazon also announced that it will offer unlimited paid sick leave over the next month, but only for those who test positive for COVID-19. 

Apple is now offering its retail staff unlimited paid sick leave to anyone experiencing coronavirus systems. 

Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, others) has announced paid sick leave for all of its hourly workers not currently covered by a corporate policy. 

McDonald’s has stated that it will cover sick leave for any employees at corporate-owned locations who are asked to quarantine for two weeks. 

Walmart has deployed an Emergency Leave program, which provides time-off for employees depending on various coronavirus threat levels.  

Uber announced they will provide 14 days of sick pay for drivers or delivery workers – technically considered independent contractors who have not previously qualified for paid leave or benefits – who are sick with the coronavirus or are required to be isolated. 

Domino’s is expanding paid leave for full and part-time hourly employees to all of its company-owned stores and supply centers. However, that only includes 6% of its establishments. 

Starbucks has extended its “catastrophe pay” program, offering an additional 14 days of paid leave to anyone diagnosed with coronavirus. 

Airlines’ CEOs Forgoing Their Salaries 

Delta’s CEO is forgoing his salary for the year to try and diminish layoffs. 

Similarly, United’s CEO and President said they would forgo their base salaries until at least June 30. 

Facebook’s Bonuses 

Facebook is giving all of its employees a $1,000 bonus to deal with coronavirus fallout. 

Remote Work Initiatives 

Companies across the world are implementing new, “work from home” policies. Here are just a few examples.  

Amazon recommends employees in Seattle, San Francisco, New York, and New Jersey locations work from home if possible.  

Apple is offering employees at most of its global offices the ability to work from home.  

Capital One has requested that employees work from home if they can, and will space out branch workers and others who can’t work remotely to help reduce density in workplaces. 

CarMax is encouraging any workers who can work from home to do so, and is implementing a policy so that any location that has to close due to coronavirus pays its employees for an additional two weeks.  

Cisco mandates a two-week work from home policy for most of its 75,000 employees around the world. 

Ford has asked all non-factory floor employees to work from home starting on Monday March 16th.  

Google has asked almost all of its 100K workers across 11 offices in North America to work from home.  

Hubspot requires employees in high-risk regions to work from home and encourages those in low-to-medium risk regions to do the same. 

IBM asked workers who can do so to work from home until further notice – including those in New York City and Westchester.  

Intel is encouraging employees to work from home if their jobs don’t require them to be in the office or factory. In addition, the company has expanded its back-up childcare program, giving employees an additional 15 days to account for school closures.  

Lyft advised its San Francisco headquarters employees to work from home, and set aside funds for drivers who are quarantined and unable to work. 

Uber has strongly recommended that its U.S. employees work remotely through April 6, and agreed to compensate drivers under mandatory quarantine. 

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