Employers Continue to Engage on Coronavirus Responses Through HR Policy Webinars

March 20, 2020

With employees looking to their employers as the most credible source on how to respond to the pandemic, HR Policy Association continued to engage with members by hosting two membership-wide calls on the coronavirus pandemic this week.  On Tuesday, HR Policy hosted a call focused on legislative updates to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, while on Thursday, the HR Policy Association's Future Workplace Policy Council hosted a call focusing on labor and employment strategies in response to the outbreak.

We heard from company representatives on pay policies, union responses, protocols on teleworking, and communication strategies.  We also heard from Association staff on the passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and applicable laws companies will need to consider when developing responses to the coronavirus.  Additionally, we conducted polls during the webinars on telecommuting policies, furloughs, health check surveys, and adjustments to health plan provisions.

Detailed summaries of both calls and further resources recommended by HR Policy members may be found here.

Our American Health Policy Institute also conducted a membership-wide survey this week on employers' current paid sick leave policies, as well as any additional policies members are considering in response to the coronavirus.  According to the results:

  • 68% of respondents indicated their companies will follow, or are considering and are likely to follow the paid leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Act even without a tax credit;

  • 50% are extending paid leave for those that have exhausted leave accruals;

  • 51% plan to continue to pay U.S. employees through a time of extended illness/absence;

  • 90% are requiring employees who can work remotely to do so; and

  • 64% will continue to pay all employees who are healthy but cannot work due to circumstances beyond their control.

We have also instituted the Coronavirus Response Network, a members-only online community for posting questions and answers and full survey results regarding how companies are planning for and dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.  Discussions on the network have ranged from leave and scheduling policies, to screening protocols, to employee outplacement and talent needed.  All HR Policy members were sent an email with instructions on how to access the network, and companies are already posting policies and communications.  If you have further questions about the network, please contact Henry Eickelberg at heickelberg@hrpolicy.org.

Looking ahead:  The Association will continue to provide platforms for companies to collaborate in preventing and responding to the global threat the coronavirus presents to their workforces.  If you would like to contribute on a future call or provide additional resources, please contact Daniel Chasen at dchasen@hrpolicy.org.