As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock the world economy, companies have to do whatever they must to avoid going under. Necessary cost-cutting measures can be drastic for some, even regardless of size. Some companies, however, are steadfast in putting a premium on people, whether they are employees or members of the communities where they operate, and these choices are particularly encouraging and admirable.
According to the nonprofit research organization JUST Capital, outstanding companies for employees typically provide the following:
- At least 14 days of unconditional paid sick leave
- Free personal protective equipment to their employees
- Financial support in the form of wage increases and/or bonuses
Not surprisingly, a huge number of companies all over the world are choosing to prioritize their employees and their communities, some examples of whom we salute in this list.
The American home improvement retail company, with about 300,000 employees across the country, is making a second special payment of $80 million to all its hourly workers, the first one of the same amount having been made in March, bringing the company’s total commitment to help its associates and communities through the coronavirus pandemic to $250 million.
Lowe’s will also continue to offer paid time off for qualified associates and telemedicine benefits for all full-time, part-time, and seasonal hourly associates and their families even if they are not enrolled in the company’s medical benefits plan.
For communities, Lowe’s is showing appreciation to moms who will be away from their families on Mother’s Day by donating $1 million worth of flower baskets from its network of small business growers and nurseries to more than 500 long-term care and senior living facilities across areas greatly impacted by the pandemic, including New York, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Houston, and Miami.
The American multinational chemical corporation has committed $3 million to following: (1) the COVID-19 Solidarity Fund to support World Health Organization (WHO) efforts around the world, (2) direct relief, humanitarian aid organization, to distribute medical supplies, (3) regional and local non-profit support across the globe, and (4) building community resilience in the recovery phase, which gets $1MM.
The company has also stepped up production of hand sanitizers to more than 200 metric tons at sites across North America, Europe, and Latin America, to be donated to local health systems and government agencies. Additionally, it is committed to creating a simplified face-shield design that allows them to increase production for healthcare workers and vowing to donate 100,000 shields to Michigan-area hospitals.
Other ways the company is making a difference in communities where they operate include:
- Giving grocery and hygiene care kits to 200 low-income Malaysian families
- Donating clinical gowns to a medical center in Australia
- Contributing to Emergency Quarantine Facilities in Metro Manila through Dow Philippines and donating raw material for sanitizer alcohol production to aid COVID-19 relief in the country
Target is leading the retail industry in terms of outstanding response to COVID-19, in part because of the range of policies and practices it has adopted to support its workers. Here’s what Target has done so far:
- Established a COVID-19 paid sick leave policy that offers 14 days of paid sick leave to team members who are under quarantine or have COVID-19
- Increased the wages for its 300,000-plus frontline workforce as they meet increased customer needs. The $2-an-hour pay raise will be effective at least through May 2
- Offered up to 30 days’ paid leave to workers who are pregnant, 65 years old or older, or have underlying health risks
- Waived its absenteeism policy to support team members who may be unable to work either because of school or daycare closures, or because they need to stay home due to flu-like symptoms
- Provided workers—including those at stores, distribution centers, and HQ locations—access to 25 days of free backup care per dependent, including in-home care for children, adults, or elderly family members living with Target employees
- Expanded the Team Member Giving Fund to support workers and their families faced with unavoidable financial hardship in the wake of the pandemic.
While the company could still to do more in some areas (e.g., reducing barriers and strict requirements to taking paid and sick leave, Target’s swift public response to COVID-19 to ensure their employees’ needs are taken care of clearly shows its robust effort to put stakeholder capitalism to practice, even in the middle of a crisis.
PepsiCo’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is to act on a global scale to help communities in need.
The multinational food, snack, and beverage corporation has mobilized its resources to invest up to $11 million to provide food, water, and other critical support to communities affected by COVID-19 around the world.
In particular, Pepsico has done the following:
- Partnered with the USDA and the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty to deliver 1 million food boxes to students in rural America, as well as committed $1M to this effort
- Donated $100,000 to Feeding Westchester to help distribute shelf-stable meals and fresh produce to local residents across Westchester County, New York
- Donated $200,000 to each Red Cross in Italy, Spain, and France, and $100,000 to the Red Cross in Lebanon
- Invested $1.5 million with the Global FoodBanking Network to provide water and nutrition solutions to 12 Latin American countries affected by COVID-19
In addition, PepsiCo is hiring 9,000 full-time employees with benefits to ensure that it can maintain the supply and production of food and beverages in the face of high demand. Both customers and local communities who are experiencing hardships benefit greatly from these rapid response measures.
Procter & Gamble
On April 17, 2020, the multinational consumer goods corporation announced its trifold COVID-19 response: (1) protecting P&G people, (2) serving consumers, and (3) supporting communities.
To protect its employees, P&G is enabling those who can work from home to do so. For those required to be on-site to make, pack, and ship products, the company is ensuring their workplace safety with the following:
- Access control measures (temperature scans, shift rotations, queueing avoidance, and physical distancing)
- Personal protective equipment, including hand sanitizers and masks
- Comprehensive, methodical cleaning of all production areas, including regular sanitization and surface disinfection that exceeds the most rigorous health authority standards
The company also encourages all employees to make such smart, appropriate choices such as staying at home if they feel unwell, are classified as high-risk, or have preexisting medical conditions.
With its sustainable and robust employee policies, benefits, and a culture that can support, nurture, and endure for the long term, the company is giving its employees access to the following benefits:
- Robust health and wellness benefits
- Access to virtual medical visits without cost
- Pay continuity
- Paid leave
- Flexible work arrangements
- Flexible dependent care arrangements
- Webinars focused on mental health and resiliency
- Virtual learning and wellness classes for kids and adults
To help communities, P&G is donating millions of its products from more than 30 brands in 30 countries, and will continue to do so over the course of the epidemic. It is also partnering with and supporting more than 200 NGOs, agencies, and some of the world’s leading relief organizations. The company will focus its support in particular on nursing homes, shelters, community groups, and food banks.
With modified equipment in manufacturing sites to ensure operational safely, the company will be able to produce more than 45,000 liters of sanitizer per week globally to share with hospitals, health care facilities, and relief organizations. P&G is also working to produce critically needed non-medical face masks in every region of the world, expecting to produce millions of masks per month. To help hospitals and COVID-19 testing centers, the company is producing face shields in Boston and Cincinnati by leveraging its R&D, engineering, and manufacturing capability.
In the event of a full or partial facility closure, Nestlé is guaranteeing 12 weeks of regular wages, paying eligible frontline employees an additional 12% for at least 12 weeks, and providing up to 14 days of additional time off to employees impacted by the coronavirus.
And to help the communities where it operates, the corporation is mobilizing substantial local relief efforts and joining forces with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
The financial information and analytics company has expanded its employees’ care leave and minimum sick leave to two weeks, supported global work-from-home arrangements by providing a technology subsidy to accommodate the WFH environment, and extended its Employee Assistance Program to provide wider access to mental health services. It has also committed to continue paying employees infected with coronavirus and is extending vacation carryover.
Despite the a significant decline in bookings (in some cases temporary closures), as experienced by practically all hotels across the country, and the world, which is reducing staff needs and placing many workers at risk of losing their jobs, Hilton is taking a number of steps to avoid job losses: notably, it is providing additional support to workers seeking other temporary employment opportunities by implementing these two measures:
- Adopting flexible hours, shorter work weeks, and job rotations at some of its properties
- Partnering with companies in other industries, such as Albertsons, Amazon, CVS, and Walgreens to connect workers from temporarily suspended hotels with short-term job opportunities
The Santa Clara–based technology company has transitioned its employees who are able to, into a work-from-home setup, and is facilitating their adaption to the change by ensuring that they can easily order office supplies from home. Equally laudable is that hourly workers who can’t work will continue to get paid. And to round off the company’s effort to look after its employees in the time of the pandemic, it is providing anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 a case manager through their medical plan.
The American multinational biopharmaceutical company is enabling any employee who can work from home to do so for the foreseeable future. Together with Amgen Foundation, the company has also committed up to $12.5 million to directly support COVID-19 relief efforts in the communities where its teams work.
Dominion Energy, Inc., has 80 hours of paid leave for employees sick, or caring for someone sick, with coronavirus, or experiencing unforeseen childcare needs. The company is also offering free telemedicine until June 1, free COVID-19 testing through the year, and have created resources for additional childcare and employee financial hardship.
Cushman & Wakefield
To help those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the global commercial real estate services firm has launched a Global Employee Assistance Fund as part of a $5 million commitment. As well, the firm’s CEO and executive teams are taking pay cuts in order to fund the assistance and avoid layoffs.
The French multinational food-products corporation has guaranteed its 100,000 employee’s contracts and income until June 30, has confirmed all employees will have COVID-19 health coverage, and that bonuses will be given to employees required to work onsite.
The ridesharing company Lyft has hit Pause on the addition of new drivers in several markets and has expanded delivery to cover healthcare supplies in order to safeguard its drivers’ earnings. Lyft has advised employees at its San Francisco headquarters to work from home, and has set aside funds for drivers who are quarantined and unable to work. To help protect their drivers who are continuing to drive, Lyft is providing them hand sanitizer and face masks for free. The company is also exploring new earning opportunities and ways to save its drivers money through existing programs.
The multinational ride-hailing company has strongly recommended that its U.S. employees work remotely through April 6, and will compensate drivers under mandatory quarantine. Uber is also providing 14 days of sick pay for drivers or delivery workers—technically considered independent contractors who have not previously qualified for paid leave or benefits—who are infected with the coronavirus or are required to be isolated.
PwC has closed all of its offices, allowing all U.S. employees to work from home, and offering $2,200 in additional emergency backup child care.
Adobe is offering free distance learning until May 31 for schools that have been impacted by coronavirus.
And Mastercard is matching all employee donations to relief efforts, which includes funds to the China Women’s Development Foundation, local U.S. food banks, and a gift of 25,000 respirator masks to New York City hospitals. The company has also created the Girls4Tech online curriculum for grades 3–7 available to parents and teachers looking for learning resources.
In a time when the future seems more uncertain than usual, such guarantees as job, pay, and benefits continuity, as well as a sustained effort to look after communities that are constantly worried about what the next day brings, are more than enough reason to slog on.