How are countries across the globe helping employers to respond to COVID-19
The coronavirus crisis is a story with an unclear ending. What is clear is that the human impact is already tragic, and that companies have an imperative to act immediately to protect their employees, address business challenges and risks, and help to mitigate the outbreak in whatever ways they can.
People Matters, in an attempt to bring organizations to reflect together on managing the word of work and people in this time of “disruption”, conducted the People Matters COVID-19 Impact & Measures Survey – March 2020 survey across India and Southeast Asia.
In this (3/4) part of the guidebook by People Matters COVID-19: Responding to people & work implications - A step by step guide by People Matters. Here are some of the practices adopted by companies around the world to minimize the impact of pandemic on people, work, and business.
- Canada has announced to offer temporary wage subsidy for three months to small business owners so they can keep their workers on payroll during these uncertain times.
- If an employee do not qualify for Employment Insurance and do not have access to paid sick leave but have to self-isolate or quarantine, or if he need to take of care of your family member who has COVID-19, he will receive an Emergency Care benefit of up to $900 every two weeks.
- If the business is in a severely impacted region, community or industry, business may benefit from various measures that will be put in place using the $1 BN the Government has made available for this purpose.
- The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is providing relief for some tax obligations for businesses affected by the outbreak, on a case-by-case basis.
- If an employee can’t work because he has become sick or needs to self-isolate, or his income has been otherwise impacted by the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus, he may be eligible for income support payments.
- If businesses employ a casual employee and they can’t work because they become sick or need to self-isolate, or their income has been otherwise impacted by the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus, they may be eligible for income support payments.
- Anyone struggling with mortgage payments as a result of coronavirus because, for example, they are off work and on statutory sick pay, will get a three-month repayment holiday.
- All shops, pubs, restaurants and other leisure businesses will not have to pay business rates for a year under the new plans. Companies with a rateable value (a measure of property values) of up to £51,000 will be able to apply for grants of up to £25,000 to help cover their immediate cash-flow problems.
- The smallest firms, who currently do not pay business rates, can apply for a grant of up to £10,000.
Denmark is offering to pay 75 percent of the wages of private-sector employees at risk of redundancy because of the coronavirus.
- Companies in Singapore affected by Malaysia's travel restrictions amid the COVID-19 outbreak will receive an allowance of S$50 per worker per night for 14 nights to cover the extra costs incurred.
- The Singapore government has worked with private and public sectors to make available a range of short-term housing options for workers in Malaysia who cannot stay with relatives. These include:
(A) Hotels or dormitories: There is a range of hotel/dormitory options currently available. The Government is working with the hotel/dormitory providers on providing lower-cost rentals.
(B) Accommodation, such as rooms and whole property in both the HDB flats and private residential property market.
- Singapore is soon to launch a support plan which can have wage cover, suggested to be placed at around $4,000 to reflect the current median wage. Maybank Kim-Eng noted that during the GFC, the scheme covered the first $2,500, slightly below the median wage at that time. Further, the equivalent CPF contribution rate could be placed at 17%, to reflect the employer contribution rate for workers below 55 years of age.
The plan may also waive three months of foreign worker levies on some of the worst hit sectors, noting that this will not detract from the longer-term restructuring and productivity drive.