Over the past several months there seems to be multiple blogs about what to do, what to say, how to do what, and when to do...my firm is not excluded. Yes, I will plug my blog because they are actually pretty good. You can check the various posts here. But we have not seen blogs discussing COVID-19 from the eyes of the employee. As businesses start to reopen, there are genuine concerns from employees and the following data points come from our HR Help Desk team.
Concern: I have to work but I am afraid that my interaction with the public will make me and my family sick.
There are many things you can take to protect yourself. Here are a few suggestions:
- First and foremost, wear your mask and PPE. Wash your hands often. Use your hand sanitizer. Follow established CDC guidelines. If your employer does not want or feel it is necessary to provide you with these basics, look elsewhere and consider contacting the Department of Health.
- Maintain at least 6 feet from customer or guest for as long as possible.
- It is OK to tell a manager that a guest or client is not meeting the minimum safety guidelines. You will not lose your job for implementing the company’s requirements. You and/or your Manager can and should deny service if the guest or client refuses to comply with the employer’s safety protocols. Do not get into a shouting match, call 911.
Concern: My employer is telling me to give them the $600 per week bonus to keep my job, since they are paying for it.
While your employer is paying for part of your unemployment benefits, the $600 per week supplement is from the Federal government and is not to be paid to your employer. It is for you and your family. If you employer tells you to give them any money contact your unemployment office or the Department of Labor. This is illegal.
Concern: Why should I go to work when I am making more at home? This is free money and I don’t have to get sick.
This is not free money. You will be taxed on this either when you receive the funds now, or when you file your 2020 tax return. Some additional thoughts:
- If work is available, unless you have a COVID-19 qualified reason for not going back, your benefits can be reduced or stopped. In some cases of fraud, the money can be demanded back with penalties and additional fees.
- Your employer will be informing the unemployment office that work is available for you. They need you and the unemployment office wants you back to work.
Concern: I have tried to file for unemployment for the past several weeks. I have not been able to contact anyone and/or no one will call me back if I do get through. I have no food and the rent is due.
The system is over whelmed. The government was not prepared for the onslaught that occurred and are not able to cope with the need.
- Try to communicate with your unemployment center via the internet. Most transactions are being completed this way. If you do not have a computer or access to the internet, contact a local church or outreach center. They will either have the resources or know where to go to provide the resources. Please remember while you are out of work you will need to claim you benefits every week. Meaning log on and tell them that you are able to work and you have not found work.
- Call your landlord, work out a plan for deferring rent. They cannot evict you.
- Call your credit card providers, phone service, utilities, car payment service. Each will work with you. But you must call them first. Be patient because you are not alone. The hold times may be long. Consider calling during off-peak hours if you can’t reach anyone but keep trying.
- Contact your local church or outreach center for locations for food banks and food distribution. This is the one that is truly working very well. God bless those folks.
These are but a few of the hundreds of concerns that are being address by the TSG-HR Help Desk team. Please contact us if we can be of service to you. Our new eBook, The Road to Recovery: 10 Essential HR Steps to Reopening Your Business is available at www.tsg-HelpDesk.com/ebook or on Amazon here.
Scott A Williams founded TSG-HR in 2001 and has assembled a global network of human capital experts to help businesses. He founded TSG-HR Help Desk shortly after to improve the delivery of professional HR support that matters to our clients
Over his career, Mr. Williams has held several domestic and international executive positions, most recently as the Director (VP) of HR, North America, for The Coca-Cola Company. Mr. Williams is an angel investor and sits on the board of several start-up companies. He advises companies throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and China. Mr. Williams is sought out for his skills in maximizing workforce and strategic performance, removing cultural barriers, and reducing HR functional costs. Mr. Williams and his team of HR experts are sought for their expertise and thought leadership in all areas of human resources and human capital management.