Updated March 23, 2020 at 4:54pm PST.
We issued a one-time questionnaire with our most recent NCEO Bulletin. This page will host the questions people are asking, the issues businesses are grappling with, and our responses to them. It will be updated as new information is made available.
Answers to technical questions are posted on COVID-19 Questions and Answers.
What companies are doing
- We are on a volunteer remote work force currently. Most people are taking advantage of this leaving a skeleton crew at the office.
- We've quarantined staff that have recently traveled.
- We are currently paying all staff, even those whose jobs are not able to be done remotely. That can't continue indefinitely.
- We implemented extra paid PTO specifically for the next 3 weeks as well as allowing people to opt out of work to self quarantine.
- We have instituted low interest company loans to help people through financial hardships related to this emergency.
- We are using our Ideas Are Free system to identify ways to stay safe at work. Generating lots of very effective employee ideas such as single use cream and sugar, "the desk is being used" signage for cleaning staff, locking down conference rooms, etc.
- We instituted a policy that there is no return from any respiratory illness until 72 hours of symptom free time has passed.
- We are starting an all-company call today at 3:00 so we can share updates while practicing social distancing. Previously we all gathered for this meeting on a monthly basis. Now, instead of gathering monthly, we are sharing on this weekly call.
- We have a designated person who spends the day sanitizing all the places that are touched, break room surfaces, bathrooms, computer equipment, warehouse equipment and machines. In addition, gloves are available for all employees, as well as face masks. The employees also disinfect any surfaces they touch, both before and after touching. Breaks and lunches are staggered to reduce clustering and all common area things like coffee makers have been eliminated.
- It's important to make sure staff communicate their activities so we can make the best decisions for all employees.
- We have also placed a great focus on checking in with staff members multiple times per day, and checking in on their physical and mental health, even tasking certain extroverts on their team to reach out to specific individuals at least daily via video chat or phone call. Employees have given us great feedback on their appreciation for our communications, and feeling so thankful to work for a company (ESOP) like ours.
Questions to be answered
- What are ESOP companies doing to avoid layoffs or furloughs?
- What, if any, options are available to ESOPs to support employee participants who may be in financial duress because of COVID-19?
- What will the impact of (hopefully temporary) layoffs be for companies? Will it be consider a partial plan termination? Do you think the IRS will step in to help alleviate this, especially in the case of temporary layoffs?