EMPLOYMENT LAW NEWS
Companies Doing Good During the Coronavirus Pandemic
By Kris Janisch
Published April 9, 2020
Many businesses have made a concerted effort to do good in the face of the coronavirus.
As the nation continues to grapple with the impacts of COVID-19, there are some rays of sunshine among these cloudy skies. Notably, many companies are doing good as they contribute to the efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Below, we’ll highlight a few of the businesses that have made a concerted effort to do good in the face of the coronavirus.
For information related to the coronavirus and employment law, check out some of our previous blog posts:
- What Does the Coronavirus Stimulus Package Mean for Employers?
- DOL Issues Additional Guidance on Families First Coronavirus Response Act
- Coronavirus: DOL Issues Guidance on Emergency Paid Leave Act
- COVID-19: Colorado, New York Combatting Coronavirus with Emergency Paid Sick Leave
- Coronavirus: Federal Government Enacts Emergency Paid Sick Leave, Family and Medical Leave
- Coronavirus: What Employers Should Know
Home Depot and Lowe’s
Home Depot and Lowe’s, two of the nation’s largest home improvement retailers, recently stopped selling the sought-after N95 masks and are instead donating them to first responders and healthcare providers across the country.
These masks provide more protection than a standard facemask, and Home Depot opted to stop selling them to the public after a run on them a few weeks ago.
“Then we asked stores to search for any leftover that might be in the overhead, or anywhere else, and to donate them locally. We redirected all shipments in our supply chain to be donated to hospitals, healthcare providers and first responders around the country. As an extra precaution, we locked them down with a stop sale beginning last week,” a Home Depot spokeswoman told USA Today.
Meanwhile, Lowe’s also recently decided to give store employees a $2 per hour raise during April.
We're so proud of our Red Vest associates’ tireless efforts to serve customers and communities in this unprecedented time. We're giving a special payment to hourly teammates, extending emergency paid leave, adjusting store procedures and more: https://t.co/swQ79bc1Yg
— Lowe's (@Lowes) March 25, 2020
Starbucks, the biggest coffee chain in the U.S., this week announced a $10 million commitment to economic relief for its workers due to the coronavirus.
The company plans to offer grants to employees in need through a newly established Starbucks Global Partner Emergency Relief Program.
“As we navigate this global crisis, we never lose sight of the wellbeing of our partners, who are the heartbeat of this company,” Lucy Helm, chief partner officer, said in a press release. “During this very difficult time, we believe it is our responsibility to create additional support for partners facing unexpected financial hardship wherever they are. We are proud to be a catalyst for a first-of-its-kind global funding initiative to further demonstrate to our Starbucks partners that we are in this together.”
In late March, Gap announced that — even as its stores are temporarily shuttered — it would use supplies to manufacture masks, gowns and scrubs by the millions and donate them to medical centers across California.
An update on our #COVID19 response: Our teams are connecting some of the largest hospital networks in Calif. w/ our vendors to deliver PPE supplies while we pivot resources so factory partners can make masks, gowns & scrubs for healthcare workers on the front lines.
— Gap Inc. (@GapInc) March 25, 2020
The world’s biggest producer of beauty products, L’Oréal, has launched an effort to distribute vast quantities of hand sanitizer to hospitals, care homes and pharmacies across Europe.
It also implemented other economic measures to ease the burden on its suppliers and distribution networks, and also donated £1 million to its nonprofit partners.
Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, announced it would provide more than $365 million in bonuses to its workers. The bonuses were paid April 2.
“Walmart associates have gone above and beyond the call of duty in serving our customers during these unprecedented times,” said Doug McMillon, President and CEO. “We want to reward our associates for their hard work and recognize them for the work that is in front of us.”
And even as unemployment claims climbed over the past few weeks, Walmart also announced it would hire an additional 150,000 new employees through the end of May.
“We know millions of Americans who are usually employed at this time are temporarily out of work, and at the same time we’re currently seeing strong demand in our stores,” McMillon said. “We’re looking for people who see Walmart as a chance to earn some extra money and perform a vital service to their community.”
Johnson & Johnson
When it comes to helping with the effects of the coronavirus, Johnson & Johnson made its mark in China, where the pandemic originated.
The medical device company donated:
- 1 million masks
- 1,300 packs of contact lenses
- $1 million to the Chinese Red Cross Foundation
- 48,000 bottles of isopropyl alcohol
- An electrosurgical generator
With a stable of restaurants that include Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Yard House and others, Darden Restaurants provided paid sick leave for hourly workers who were not already covered by its corporate policy.
The Emergency Paid Program runs for three weeks, and Darden employees who are still working while many of its locations are closed will receive an additional payment to help cover unexpected costs due to COVID-19.
Good News on the Spread of the Coronavirus
Despite the unprecedented global health and economic impact of the coronavirus, there are signs that we could be beginning to turn the corner:
- The curve may be flattening in New York, one of the hardest-hit areas
- Other states, including California and Washington, also see the potential for fewer cases
- Stock markets have shown signs of a rebound
- Tech firms in the Bay Area continue to hire
As U.S. employers help the nation battle COVID-19, some observers have speculated that how companies handle the current crisis will influence how consumers view their brand in the years to come. Treatment of employees, adhering to new paid leave laws and social giving will all likely be factors that help buyers make choices in the post-COVID-19 landscape.
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