Benefits and Compensation, Coronavirus (COVID-19), HR Management & Compliance

How Can You Help Employees Impacted by COVID-19?

Let’s face it: Not every employer has the ability to allow workers to work from home in order to minimize human contact and reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and because of this, many employers have been forced to close their doors or reduce their hours of operation.

COVID19

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Restaurants, bars, movie theaters, gyms, casinos, schools, and even places of worship are temporarily closing their doors, either by state-led directives or out of good consciousness to keep their employees and the public safe. As a result, many workers are directly feeling the impact on their wallets.

If your business or organization has been forced to close up shop until the virus has run its course, you may be wondering how you can help your employees during these difficult times. One solution comes from DailyPay, a provider of daily pay benefits. The company has announced it is waiving fees for access to earned income, effective March 16, 2020.

Due to partnerships with top employers, DailyPay users can now access their earned pay at zero cost without having to wait for the company-defined payday; the waived fees will be in effect until further notice. This change will allow employees to access their pay quicker in order to help pay for necessities in case they have to quarantine or be confined to work from home.

Quarantine Scares Create Panic Buying

As the risk of quarantine grows throughout the United States, consumers are lining up at grocery stores and retailers to buy products in bulk. In fact, 63% of DailyPay users said they would use DailyPay for medical emergencies.

Now, 43% of employees using DailyPay are accessing their pay early for COVID-19-related expenses—a number that spiked 400% between March 14 and March 17. With 1 in 7 employees now accessing their earned income early to prepare for the potential impacts of the coronavirus, the reality is that many Americans may lack the funds to adequately prepare for this pandemic.

“Workers earn pay each day and they should be able to access what they’ve already earned on their own schedule,” says Jason Lee, Founder and CEO of DailyPay, in a press release announcing the new policy. “There is no better example of the need for this benefit than what American workers are facing today. Unlike a loan, workers can use our technology to simply access what they’ve already earned.”

“Like every other employer, we are doing everything possible to make sure our team members have every resource at their disposal to manage through these challenging times,” says Michelle Baldwin Henderson, Chief Human Resources Officer at United Methodist Retirement Communities. “We are so relieved that DailyPay has enabled us to offer our team members immediate access to their pay. They are making bold moves to ensure that our team members’ well-being and ability to support their families remains positive.”

Other Ways Employers Are Helping

Obviously, not all employers use DailyPay, and this is just one example of how companies are helping workers make ends meet as quarantine concerns grow larger.

Country music singer and Nashville bar owner Dierks Bentley recently announced that he would be closing his Nashville honky-tonk to keep his workers and the public safe. He’s also giving each of the venue’s 90 hourly employees $1,000 to help get through the coronavirus crisis.

“Just gave last call at Whiskey Row Nashville as we close the doors for a while,” Bentley wrote on social media last week. “My heart goes out to all the guys/girls down on Lower Broad. Feels like yesterday that it was me down there working for tips. I am going to immediately give each of our 90 hourly employees $1000 to help in the short run as our community and country try to get a handle on the situation.”

According to Los Angeles Times, Darden Restaurants, the owner of Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, and other casual sit-down chains, has announced it had implemented a paid sick leave policy for its 190,000 employees, including a starting balance for those with at least 6 months of employment.

Richard Branson, owner and founder of the Virgin Group, is asking 10,000 employees to take 8 weeks of unpaid leave over the next 3 months in an effort to “drastically reduce costs without job losses.” Unfortunately, the leave is unpaid, but at least Branson is keeping his workforce safe and healthy—and employed once this crisis is over.

Walmart is allowing any worker concerned about the coronavirus to stay home “without penalty.” Starbucks will offer employees 20 free teletherapy sessions for all workers starting April 6, 2020. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the company had already planned on offering this benefit before the coronavirus hit but said offering it sooner would help squash some of the anxiety workers face regarding the pandemic. And on top of the therapy sessions, the company will also offer “catastrophe pay” to baristas exposed to the coronavirus.

Tech giants like Google, Twitter, and IBM are asking workers to work from home, and the state of New York is asking businesses to consider having employees work two shifts and allowing telework to help prevent the virus from spreading even more.

We understand that not every employer has the ability to hand out thousands of dollars or even give workers the chance to work from home, but one thing is clear: Employers must be transparent in how they handle this crisis in their workplace. Transparency and communication will help keep your workforce safe and up to date on the status of the business.