During times like these it can be very hard to focus on anything other than the negatives, especially since we are encountering a crisis that is impacting the health of thousands as well as the financial future of potentially millions. While many businesses throughout the country are at risk of massive furloughs and layoffs, and the stock market is playing the electric slide downward with everyone’s money, there are some massive employers stepping up in a big way to help retail and service industry employees who will be hit first as a result of this pandemic.
According to the Penny Hoarder, the “coronavirus shed light on the lack of paid sick leave for hourly workers in the U.S. and especially for service workers whose job duties can’t be completed from home.” Luckily though, this epidemic forced legislators to take action, bringing forth bipartisan legislation that was quickly passed. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act “provides emergency funding to cover 14 days of paid sick leave at 100% of a worker’s salary (up to $511 per day, among other assistance for paid leave and nutrition programs.”
However, the private sector is stepping up to bat as well by granting paid sick leave to hourly workers. Massive employers Amazon, Apple, Bloom’n Brands, Darden Restaurants, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Target, as well as Walmart and Sam’s Club have amended their sick leave policy in the midst of this global crisis.
In an official announcement from Amazon this week, the statement said that the additional pay “while away from work is to ensure employees have the time they need to return to good health without the worry of lost pay.” The announcement continued that “This is in addition to unlimited unpaid time off for all hourly employees through the end of March, which we shared with employees last week” in order to prevent layoffs or furloughs (like the oil giant Halliburton, which furloughed its entire Texas headquarters staff this week).
Apple also released a statement regarding their updated policies, stating “All of our hourly workers will continue to receive pay in alignment with business-as-usual operations,” Cook wrote. “We have expanded our leave policies to accommodate personal or family health circumstances created by COVID-19 including recovering from an illness, caring for a sick loved one, mandatory quarantining, or child care challenges due to school closures.”
Whether this will be a one time deal for these major employers or whether long term actions will be taken when this crisis subsides, only time will tell.