With COVID-19 changing the economic landscape, there are many heartwarming stories of businesses making tough decisions to help their employees. Ally Financial not only moved all their workers to remote work, but instituted financial assistance and a more robust health insurance coverage. Senior employees at Gravity Payments agreed to pay cuts to ensure other employees didn’t lose their jobs.
Of course, every situation is unique – not every small business can afford to take on these additional costs. But there is something that should be done no matter what, and that’s ensure your employees are safe during this crisis. While many can do that by pivoting to remote work, there are lots of employees deemed essential who cannot work from home – and many of them are getting shafted.
In fact, essential workers are dying, with people falling ill after going to their low-paying jobs that they can’t afford to lose.
In response to these risks (as well as an outbreak at one of their locations) Kroger, the largest grocery store chain in the U.S, just announced they are taking steps to try to reduce risk.While it’s appalling that it has taken so long, the change is a step in the right direction. The new mandates include providing masks to all employees, increasing store cleaning and providing tests for all employees.
Kroger is far from the first to try to institute new policies for aiding essential workers during the pandemic, but many attempts from big corporations have been deemed lacking. In fact, workers from companies like Amazon, Walmart and Target organized a “sickout” on May 1 to strike against low pay and subpar measures for workplace safety.
With stay at home orders starting to relax in many areas, it’s important to keep essential workers protected, especially as foot traffic might very well increase over the next couple weeks. We’re likely not out of the woods yet, with doctors warning about a second wave of COVID-19 that could be on the horizon, and essential workers are on the front lines.
While many businesses might be dragging their feet on protecting their workers, though, there are still ways you can help. Continue washing your hands regularly, avoiding close contact with employees and using cloth mask coverings when going out to avoid spreading the disease.