As of Tuesday, 30 people in Indiana had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and there had been two deaths. However, a mere scroll of your social media timelines will reveal that someone within two degrees of separation likely has the virus or knows someone who is being directly impacted.
Last week, President Trump and Governor Holcomb declared national and state public health emergencies. While the national and state “shutdown” terms have not been issued yet, life as we know it is far from normal and will continue to be that way for the foreseeable future.
Some of the largest technology companies took the lead on workplace policies earlier in the month. Microsoft said that it would pay wages for hourly employees impacted by the ongoing corporate response, and Facebook committed to pay its “contingent” workers, along with Amazon, Google and Twitter.
The average age of a tech company employee is between 28 and 35, which does not meet the “older adult” test for who is at higher risk. But these organizations set the example that many non-tech companies are now following.
The underlying concern – as reflected by the volatility seen in stock markets – is the impact on companies’ bottom lines. Coming to grips with lost earnings is more daunting than accommodating a remote workforce. But again, tech companies – namely telecommunications firms – are at the forefront.
Last Thursday, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, emphasized the importance of keeping Americans connected as the country experiences serious disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak and asked companies to take the Keep Americans Connected Pledge; as follows:
Given the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on American society, [[Company Name]] pledges for the next 60 days to:
(1) not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic;
(2) waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and
(3) open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.
As of Monday, 186 companies across the United States have taken the pledge, including the following 12 (out of 43) broadband providers in Indiana: AT&T, Bloomingdale Communications, CenturyLink, Comcast, Consolidated Communications, EarthLink, Hughes, Mediacom, NineStar Connect, T-Mobile, Viaset and Verizon.
These will be trying times, but we will get through them together. The Indiana Chamber is providing links to valuable information for all employers as they make the decisions that are best for their team members and organizations.