Noted
Dumebi Egbuna
July 6, 2021

How Companies Are Supporting Their Employees During the COVID-19 Outbreak

“How companies respond to that very question is going to define their brand for decades.”

That is how billionaire Mark Cuban responded when asked when he thinks it is safe to send people back to work amid the coronavirus outbreak. Since the onset of the virus’ spread, Cuban has led by example, immediately announcing that he would continue to pay the salaries of arena workers after the NBA announced that it would be suspending its season.

We wanted to see what companies from various industries were doing to support employees during this difficult time, so we did some digging. This is a non-comprehensive report on what companies in tech, finance, retail, media, and other industries are doing to help their workers.

We’re focusing this report on the work that companies are doing specifically for their employees. Plenty of companies are offering free/discounted services to help the general population.

Note: it seems like everything in the news is about what’s not being provided or what isn’t available. In an effort to change the narrative a bit, this report only spotlights good things that companies are doing.

Second note: some of the information below was directly told to us by employees (hence no external link to another media outlet).

This is a living report; we’ll be updating as we do more research. If your company is doing something cool to assist its employees, and you would like to share, then shoot us an email!

Stay safe and wash your hands!

Tech

Netflix — pledging $100 million to help cast and crew members who can’t work

  • $15 million will go to external organizations that support film industry workers who are out of work

Microsoft — continuing to pay on-campus workers their hourly wages

Google — established a paid sick leave fund for temporary staff vendors if they come down with symptoms of the coronavirus

Amazon — offering paid sick leave for employees that test positive for COVID-19

  • Amazon will also hire an additional 100,000 workers for delivery and warehouse work

Apple — offering unlimited paid sick leave to Apple store and other retail staff experiencing symptoms

Facebook — giving every employee a one-time $1,000 bonus to help them shift to remote work amidst higher usage from users

  • Every employee will also receive an “exceeds” rating for the first of their bi-annual 2020 review
  • Employees have also been offered free Facebook Portal video chat devices upon request

Shopify — providing every employee with a one-time $1,000 bonus

Salesforce — committing to paying hourly employees that cannot work due to office closures

  • Salesforce’s CEO Marc Benioff also tweeted encouraging other companies to commit to “no major layoffs” in the next 90 days

Retail

CVS — providing bonuses to in-store workers (pharmacists, store associates, and managers) of $150 to $500, and hiring an additional 50k employees for various full-time and part-time roles

TJ-Maxx — paid employees in full up until April 11th.

Starbucks — (starting March 13) continuing to pay employees for the next 30 days

BJ’s Wholesale Clubincreasing wages for frontline workers

  • Hourly employees will receive an extra $2 per hour
  • Managers and other “key personnel” will receive bonuses of $500–1000

Nike — paying employees in full after closing all North America stores

Walmart — establishing emergency leave program

  • Walmart waived its attendance policy for the month of April
  • For employees that are forced to quarantine, the company is offering up to 26 weeks pay for both full-time and part-time employees
  • Walmart corporate has been checking in routinely with associates and family

McDonald’s — offering sick leave of up to two weeks to at employees at company-owned locations have been offered sick leave to quarantine for up to two weeks

Molson Coors Brewers — providing “thank you” pay to brewery workers because they closed all corporate offices, but those workers still have to come in

  • The brewing company is also regularly sending guidance on social distancing and hygiene best practices to employees
  • Salaried workers get extra $200 a week, hourly get an extra $5 a week

Travel

Marriott — reducing salary for executives

  • The Hotel giant will be cutting the pay of senior executives by 50%
  • Contradictory to some reports, the company does not plan to cut pay for employees

Airbnb — giving 14 weeks of base pay to workers that are laid off and 12 months of paid health insurance

  • The company has also announced that it is dropping the one-year cliff on equity for everyone that’s been hired in the past 12 months, meaning that those newer employees will get the equity they normally would have had to wait a year to earn
  • Before this lay-off announcement, the founders of Airbnb agreed to forego their salaries, and executives agreed to take a 50% pay cut

Consulting

Accenture — allowing employees to expense $100 per day for in-home childcare since most schools are closed

  • The consulting firm is also providing employees with free telemedicine services through May

Ernst & Young — ensuring employees that there will be no lay-offs, and extended their PTO policy

  • Employees have also been permitted to expense $175 worth of work from home materials such as desks and external monitors

Bain — providing a stipend for setting up a home office

PwC — offering money for childcare reimbursement. Employees can expense $100/day for up to twelve days

Cognizant — extended paid sick leave to 14 days globally, and increased for employees in India and the Philippines by 25% for the month of April.

Finance

Marsh & McLennan Companies — ensuring all employees that it will not be laying off any employees

  • In addition to promising job security, the company announced a $5M fund that employees can access if they need help paying bills
  • Employees can also purchase any “reasonable” equipment while they work from home

Visa — ensuring no layoffs for 20,000 employees

Citigroup — giving $1,000 to employees in need and extending the PTO policy for employees taking time off

Bank of America — committing to no layoffs this year, despite recently hiring 2,000 new employees

  • The Charlotte-based bank also raised its minimum wage to $20/hour earlier this year

Media & Entertainment

NBA — reducing salary by 20% for the top 100 executives in the league office

Vox Media — sending consistent communications from the CEO encouraging employees to prioritize personal health and family over work

  • Vox is also helping its employees with mental health services and unlimited PTO for parents

MLB — donating $30 million ($1 million per team) to help stadium employees who cannot work

AT&T — extending the paid leave policy for employees

  • AT&T is also raising the wages of customer-facing employees by 20% and giving managers on the frontline bonuses of up to $1,000
  • Employees who need to self-quarantine will be given excused paid time off

Disney — paying all of its ‘cast members’ (employees that work in theme parks, in hotels, and/or on cruise lines) through the month of March

WarnerMedia — committing $100 million to production team members who cannot work because of the outbreak

Dumebi Egbuna
Dumebi Egbuna is Co-founder and CMO of Chezie. She is also a self-proclaimed fashionista and lover of all things interior design.

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