5 Benefits to Offer Employees Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

The Coronavirus pandemic has affected billions of people worldwide, causing anxieties, stress, depression, and whatnot. People are struggling with their personal and professional lives and are worried about the coming future. Not only has it crossed 4 million cases all over the world but it has also adversely affected private and government businesses. The COVID-10 outbreak has affected every sector and industry across the globe and the government, business owners, and employers are seeking the best way out to handle this crisis. Needless to say, many employees are struggling with their jobs and questioning their financial security, health coverage, job security, and more. The global pandemic has certainly become a new reality for all of us and we are hardly prepared for it.

Amidst all the stress and chaos, one silver lining is that employers are sparing no effort to expand mental and physical health benefits to employees. They are coming up with new policies and schemes to support their workforce through meaning benefit programs that motivate workers to stay productive and positive during these tough times. Moreover, they are reevaluating the existing plans, focusing more on benefit plans that are needed at present, reviewing every aspect and detail so that they can deliver the best solutions to employees.

Yes, paid-time offs, medical coverage, layoffs, etc., are important during remote working but employers are primarily ensuring the safety and wellbeing of their staff members.

As a leading Employee Benefits Service provider, we have listed 7 benefits that companies must offer to employees to ensure convenience and a sense of security to their workforce. Have a look:

Paid Time-Off

Of course, you provide your employees with paid sick leaves on a monthly basis but as the time has changed and wellbeing has become more significant than ever, it is time to revisit your policies. Hitherto, your scheme was working perfectly for regular working conditions but as we are more inclined toward remote working, you must rethink and redefine your sick leave program. Honestly, regular policies may not work or face loopholes during COVID-19 absence which may upset your office members. The government has advised all the employers of small, medium, and large businesses to offer paid time off in three categories:

  • For those who need leaves to undergo treatment for Coronavirus
  • For taking care of any Coronavirus infected or unwell family member
  • For the primary caregivers for a child at home due to school closures

These are in addition to the existing leave provisions as they may not be adequate for the time required to get recovered from the virus. The best way is to roll out Coronavirus-specific leaves in the calendar so that employees can easily opt for it if the need arises. Make sure that the policies are flexible, consistent, well communicated, and in accordance with the public health guidelines. 

Online Mental Health Resources

This global pandemic is not just affecting the physical health of people but causing mental distress, anxieties, stress, and depression. People have to practice social distancing, live in isolation, stay at home all the time, and most of all there is a constant fear of such a large-scale outbreak. No wonder that we need to keep ourselves mentally fit and focused. But how to achieve it? Well, employers can play a crucial role in ensuring the mental wellness of their workers and make a positive impact. With small yet effective measures, they can keep their employees motivated and healthy.

Apart from implementing a flexible employee benefits scheme, online mental health programs can also be used to make the situation normal. There are a plethora of online resources that business owners can use to teach the employees new skills to manage stress. There are meditation, yoga, and various therapy sessions that people can subscribe to take care of their mental health. There are therapists, coaches, health experts, available on different mobile apps who recommend effective relaxation techniques, ways to stay calm, means of self-soothing, and more. With employees coping well with their stress, you can be assured of improved productivity and work satisfaction. 

Assistance for Dependents

Although COVID-19 has affected people of all ages, its main impact is seen on the elderly and children due to their weak immunity. The chances are that many of your employees are taking care of vulnerable dependents. Also, with no school and work from home, they have to maintain a balance between professional and personal lives. What if you can help them manage this challenging situation? Yes, as an employer, you can make things simpler and easier for them by introducing a “family first” plan that will extend medical benefits to the family members as well.

Taking the current situation into account, review your previous policies so that employees can assist the dependents financially. Increase health insurance coverage for family members and remove coinsurance and copayments situations. Also, with the Coronavirus outbreak, workers may not visit the office to collect the paycheck or wages, so promote a cashless system so that they can get the amount on time. 

Access to Telemedicine

We all have become a bit more anxious and careful about our health these days and seek assistance from time to time. However, visiting doctors or clinics is not possible during a lockdown situation. So, what is the right way to keep a check on wellbeing without going out? The answer is virtual healthcare. As people won’t be stepping out of their house for more weeks to come, accessing medical advice online is the best solution. The government is pushing the idea of telemedicine to citizens as it serves two purposes.

First, it will keep away the pressure from an already-strained healthcare system that is working day in, day out for infected people. Second, it will be easier for employees to take care of themselves and their families without getting exposed to COVID-19. There are several mobile apps that you can suggest to your workforce via employee benefits plan where health experts are available 24*7 for any guidance. If a doctor feels the need for any employee to be tested, they can suggest the right way to do so and make the required arrangements.  

Streamlined 401(k) Withdrawals

401(k) is one of the key aspects of employee benefits administration and you can use it to help your employees during this challenging time as well. As you know that 401(k) is a long-term saving plan and a retirement fund but it can be used in the current situation to manage the financial needs. Yes, one cannot withdraw the amount usually from this plan but you can make a provision for your workforce by allowing them to make penalty-free withdrawals from their account to pay for their health requirements.

In fact, the CARES Act has recently allowed the citizens of the US to withdraw up to $100,000 from the 401(k) plan without a 10% penalty that people from below the age of 59 years and 6 months have to pay. You can consult a third-party financial advisor or employee benefits vendor for an effective financial health plan and convey the decision to employees through a resource group.

Conclusion

Many small, medium, and large companies have taken their moves to ensure employee benefits by incorporating COVID 19-specific policies into their existing plans. If you still haven’t implemented any scheme that it’s time to work on one. During this global crisis when everyone is struggling to keep themselves and their family members healthy, your simple initiative can be a big step for them. Your employees have given their best to your company and it’s your turn to show that they are valued and important. So, collaborate with a reliable employee benefits company for the right assistance and come up with a plan that can make a big change to the lives of your employees.

 

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