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Easing Employees' Financial Anxiety During the Pandemic

March 15, 2020

By: Jim Struble

First off, if you use Electro as your financial institution and are reading this, know we have your back too. We’re offering assistance with loan payments, credit limit increases, emergency cash and more. Just call 314-434-6470 when we’re open and we will help you out.

Back to why you clicked to read this- How are we easing our employees’ minds during these high anxiety times? Our team and our Board began working to mitigate this pandemic’s impact on our members and employees, including ordering wipes/sanitizer/masks in mid-January when it became clear it was an issue in the Wuhan Province in China. I think we have a good plan for our employees and I’m happy to share it.

Let’s frame the discussion with what questions may have been going through the minds of our employees as early as a few weeks ago:

  1. “What happens if my kids’ school is shut down, I have to stay home to care for them, and I can’t work from home? How do I get a paycheck?”
  2. “What happens if my branch is shut down due to a mandated quarantine? Do I not get paid for 14 days?”
  3. “What happens if I get sick or someone in my household does? I have to take care of them and myself! Do I need to take Paid Time Off (PTO) to get a paycheck? Do I have enough PTO? Can I take it unpaid if I need to?”
  4. “Is my job in danger if I have to stay home, or go to the doctor for treatment or diagnosis?”

During a global pandemic, each of those concerns is valid and could occur. Locations get shut down, people unfortunately fall ill, and even being in the same building as someone who is sick could result in 14 days of self-quarantine.

Here’s what your credit union is doing for our employees.

  1. We implemented ‘Pandemic Pay’. If an employee is quarantined due to circumstances beyond their control, or if they or someone in their household gets sick, we don’t require them to use PTO. We have given each of our employees two full weeks of ‘Pandemic Pay’ to ease their concerns and protect their paychecks.
  2. Lots of people come in and out of our locations. If a location (and all of our employees in it) becomes quarantined, we will continue to pay each employee their regular pay as if they were at work each day.
  3. Other expenses arise, and extended leaves may be necessary for some. To combat that, we have also created a 0% interest loan for our employees through payroll. No paperwork, no questions, they just sign a form stating they’ll pay us back and the money is in their account.
  4. During this time, our absence policies have been suspended. We were always going to do right towards our employees, suspension of these policies just takes away any doubt from our employees’ minds about it.

Many other measures have been put in place to protect staff too. Restricting travel, regular wipe-downs of all locations on the hour, event cancellation, HR questionnaires when returning from any illness, etc. We’re doing everything we can to put our employees first so we can continue to serve our members and our communities.

We have also communicated to our employees that if they can work from home, we will ask them to if a location is closed. Too many families and communities depend on their credit union to keep functioning for us to let them down. Though a co-worker may not be able to work from home and is getting paid regardless, many of our employees will continue to work remotely. We all understand that we have to band together to serve a greater purpose when difficult times arise.

Times like these are when we realize how important everyone is to our lives. The healthcare workers (my wife being one), the shelf stockers, the truckers, the tellers, and so many more are the reason the world goes around. If you stop into a branch, call in, or go through the drive-up, make sure to thank my team. They are special people and deserve the love!

I’d like to hear what your workplace is doing too! Feel free to comment on our social posts to let us know. I’m always looking for ideas to become a better employer. It may be that the bill which is working its way to the Senate will mandate employers to do even more. If that is the case, we’ll step up to the plate then too.

Take care out there.

Jim Struble
President/CEO

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