Mercer Marsh Benefits have conducted several surveys to evaluate business response to the COVID-19 outbreak. First survey was in the February 2020. Responses collected from international companies having subsidiaries in Asia region, like China, Hong-Kong, Singapore. Countries, which were facing peak of virus few months ago, what now Europe is going through.
Survey results showed what kind of employees' arrangements and resources companies in Asia region conducted for employees. Some of them, which are related to compensation, travel restrictions and self-isolation, are summarized in table below.
Arrangements for employees
The majority of companies allow remote working for all employees, most often at normal pay.
Companies are restricting travel to minimize exposure to COVID-19.
Quarantine or self-imposed isolation following travel to locations with confirmed cases of the COVID-19 is common, even if no sign of symptoms.
For those employees that are unable to work for longer than one month due to the outbreak, the majority will reduce salary but not to less than 80% of full pay.
Companies have not repatriated assignees and for the most part are watching the situation.
During quarantine and self-imposed isolation, employees tend to continue to work remotely at full pay.
Three-quarters of companies have evidenced an elevated impact to compensation and benefits, most notably to workers and sales job categories. Units most affected include HR and admin, marketing and sales, manufacturing, and supply chain.
Employees are most often requesting clean office and safe dining environments and a stable salary payment.
The majority of companies are not providing a subsidy to infected employees.
The majority of companies have yet to determine how they will adjust frontline employee compensation while one-quarter will keep targets the same and less than 20% will reduce. The retail and wholesale industry is the most likely to reduce targets.
Second survey was at the start of March 2020, where responses were gather from international companies Worldwide.
One of survey questions was what kind of safety actions companies have implemented in response to COVID-19.
Results are shown below, where we can see that top safety actions are: postponed or cancelled business travels, hand sanitizers and focus on regular communication with employees.
Which of the following actions have companies taken in response to the COVID-19 outbreak?
Safety action;Response percent
Provided masks in the workplace;33.39%
Provided hand sanitizer in workplace;92.63%
Arranged for temperatures to be checked;33.07%
Arranged for greater flexibility to work from home;66.3%
Arranged special flexible working hours;27.74%
Requested self-quarantine for the staff who have traveled to affected locations;68.34%
Postponed non-essential travel to countries where there are confirmed cases of COVID-19;82.13%
Implemented a shift schedule to rotate staff for working hours;14.11%
Offered unpaid leave application for employees to suspend working;7.37%
Conducted internal survey to understand employees’ conditions and to collect feedback;9.88%
Provide regular communications and updates to employees;84.17%
Created dedicated intranet page to keep employees informed;30.72%
Advertising telehealth or digital health options for non-epidemic issues so employees avoid unnecessary care in hospitals;18.18%
Promoted employee assistance plans;23.51%
Provided policies/benefits to help individuals with care-giving responsibilities (e.g., childcare due to school closures);10.97%
Advertised mail order pharmacy alternatives;5.33%
Provided hospitalization cash allowances;0.47%
None of the above;0.47%
Companies in CSEE region have mentioned that they are also seeking some additional tools to support employees, like vitamins, psychotherapist consultations (mental support) and/or online sport activities.
As we can see then 68 % of employers are requiring self-imposed isolation for employees returning from business or personal travel. Majority of those companies (79.34% of respondents) continuous paying salary during isolation period (table below).
Is the employee paid for the duration of the quarantine or self-imposed isolation period?
Yes, in all cases;79.34%
Yes, only for quarantines or self-imposed isolations resulting from business travel;15.82%
Gathered data in both surveys shows that all countries no matter from which region coming are acting very similar. Self-imposed isolation for those, who have returned from travelling, and work from home for rest of employees in business areas, where it is possible.
It is time, when more than ever we will miss our colleagues.
Survey participants were companies, where 60% having workforce under 5 000 employees and rest 40% having workforce above 5000.
40% of companies have headquarter in North America, 21% Western Europe, 6% Eastern Europe, 16% Latin America and Caribbean and 9% Asia. Other regions where less represented.
Additional comments were provided by CSEE countries.