The COVID-19 pandemic currently ravaging the globe has brought the global economy to a crashing halt. In many countries, non-essential businesses have been ordered to shut down completely, while many of those that remain open are seeing large declines in foot traffic, aside from grocers.
The bleak economic environment and ongoing uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and how long it will play out for is forcing businesses big and small, and across nearly every affected industry to have to make some hard decisions where their staff is concerned.
Scott Patrick Carson, the founder and CEO of Powered by MRP which has revolutionized the medical aesthetic supply chain, says the decision to layoff or furlough employees is particularly troubling during a crisis like the Coronavirus pandemic, when fears are already running high and the outside job prospects for those employees are extremely limited.
Carson, whose company has both direct employees and a much larger network of independent reps, trainers, technicians, shippers, etc., says that not being able to have your employees’ backs during such harrowing times is a painful pill to swallow, yet also a necessary one for many companies.
Finding an Optimal Solution for Your Business
What businesses can do according to Scott Patrick Carson is communicate and work together with their employees to find the most optimal solution given the circumstances. That could include exploring a number of different options, one of which could be early retirement where it makes sense.
Alternatively, the stimulus package recently passed by Congress allows Americans to tap into their retirement savings early without the typical 10% penalty, though Carson believes that should be a last resort given the long-term ramifications of doing so.
Some employees in certain countries may actually benefit from being laid off and collecting their government’s stimulus packages for affected workers, which would make the decision to do so a much easier one for both parties.
In other cases, it may be possible to avoid some layoffs by temporarily cutting back hours or readjusting other aspects of an employee’s contract in the short-term, such as their benefits packages or bonuses.
The decision to lay off employees must also be considered from a legal perspective says Scott Patrick Carson, as some employers may open themselves up to lawsuits or other penalties if they don’t have the contractual right to lay off their employees, if they don’t provide the necessary advance notice, or if they don’t pay out the amount stipulated in their contract. Furthermore, employees that are laid off for extended periods in some countries may be able to receive a redundancy payment if they decide to quit.
There are no simple solutions for companies during these unprecedented and uncertain times. While the decision to lay off employees is never an easy one, the reality is that it will be a necessity for many companies. However, at a time like this, everyone needs to remain optimistic and positive. Overwhelming challenges often lead to incredible opportunities. We just need to learn to adapt and press on.