The needs of Addison County residents, businesses, and nonprofit organizations seem to be changing daily. Social distancing is undoubtedly an appropriate measure to take in effort to prevent/limit the spread of COVID-19. As a result, local employers are assessing what the best approach is in this challenging time. Below are some suggested items that employers can consider while navigating this pandemic.
Plan - meet with your management team, board of directors, etc. and come up with a plan that protects the health of your employees and customers. Determine if/how employment status will be impacted as a result of precautionary measures.
Communicate - this is an uncertain time for everyone, but it’s important to communicate clearly and often to your employees how the business plans are changing during this time, and how it will impact their tasks and employment.
Support - if a temporary shutdown or layoff is necessary, be sure that employees are aware of the support that is there for them. What are the options?
- United@Work is a local program available to any employer in Addison County. Our Resource Coordinator provides confidential, compassionate support to employees facing barriers such as emergency financial assistance, childcare, transportation, substance use, or anything that may disrupt their employment. While these meetings have typically been held in person either on or off the worksite, we are currently offering phone, text, email, and online conferencing support to our clients.
- Are there other roles that they can take on during this time (for example, perhaps there is a higher demand for sanitation or janitorial needs they can temporarily transfer into)?
- If the employees day-to-day tasks are slowing down, can you make better use of their time by having them complete online training or certifications needed for their role?
- Does the employee have ample vacation or sick time if they become ill, or if the employer needs to shut down operations for a short amount of time? Will you allow employees to go into the negative with their vacation or sick time?
- If a layoff is necessary due to a shutdown or lack of demand, refer employees to the Vermont Department of Labor and encourage them to immediately apply for unemployment insurance benefits. If you must lay off 10 or more employees, the employer is eligible for a Mass Claims Program, allowing you, the employer, to open claims for affected employees.
United Way of Addison County is here to support employers, employees, and nonprofits alike. Let us all try to find creative ways to continue to “Live United”. If your employees are able to be re-deployed to support our health and human service organizations during this time, we welcome them to learn more about the changing needs of our local nonprofits.
Above all, please stay safe and healthy, Addison County.