Kentucky businesses continue efforts to protect employees as tough financial decisions loom

Coronavirus_Graphic_Survey_Email_3-20As America continues its battle to control the coronavirus pandemic, governments continue to place restrictions on businesses, greatly impacting their day-to-day operations.

In order to assess how the pandemic has affected Kentucky business owners and their employees, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce has conducted two statewide surveys since March 16, 2020 asking business leaders how they are managing amid this new environment. The two surveys asked similar questions to gauge how quickly employers were adapting to new regulations.

Results show in less than a week, more businesses were letting employees work from home, completely halted travel for all employees, and are providing paid leave. Companies have also had to eliminate costs, lay off employees, and take additional precautions to protect Kentuckians from spreading the virus.

The first survey, conducted March 16-19, saw a response from 345 employers. And the second survey gathered information from 321 respondents over the weekend of March 20-22.

In the second survey, respondents said on a scale from 1-10 the average overall impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their business was a seven.

Below is a comparison in the results from the first two surveys:

Are you able to allow your employees to work from home?

Survey 1: 56% yes
Survey 2: 69% yes

Have you restricted or halted travel for your employees?

Survey 1: 63% yes
Survey 2: 75% yes

Are you able to provide paid leave for your employees?

Survey 1: 45% yes
Survey 2: 47% yes

Have you eliminated some costs in your business to adapt?

Survey 1: 44% yes
Survey 2: 60% yes

Have you had to lay off any employees, temporarily suspend pay, or implement salary reductions?

Survey 1: 20% yes
Survey 2: 36% yes

According to the results, it is not just restaurants and retail that have had to lay off employees and make serious decisions about their finances. Businesses of all sizes and industries noted the financial hit their company is taking as a result of lost business and revenue.

Many noted that if they have not yet had to make these decisions, they expect they will be forced to examine the next steps in the coming weeks.

Working from home measures seem to vary greatly by industry. While most companies with operations mainly centered around office work have been able let their employees work from home, manufacturers, health care companies, and others have not been able to do so.

To address this and ensure the safety of their employees that have to come into the facility to complete their job duties, companies detailed efforts to deep clean and sanitize their workspaces with increased frequency, enforce CDC guidelines for social distancing and the number of people in an area at one time, staggering work schedules, and much more.  Some employers are also doing frequent health checks/screenings of employees to protect the individual and the rest of their workforce.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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