PNY Members Among Companies Pledging Not to Lay Off Workers Amid Coronavirus Unemployment Crisis
On the evening of March 19, as statewide stay-at-home orders were just beginning, reports of job layoffs were surging and the number of U.S. coronavirus cases topped 14,000 in the United States, Marsh & McLennan chief executive Dan Glaser made a pledge to his employees.
“I want to say to all of you that while we are in the thick of this global pandemic, your job is secure,” he said in a video message to the firm’s 76,000 global employees, including workers in its insurance and risk management, human resources, management consulting and reinsurance brokerage businesses. “There will be no counting of sick days or vacation days until things return to normal.”
He announced a $5 million fund that would offer grants to employees facing financial hardship and reminded people of the “formidable resources and financial strength” of the company. “We will be fine — if you are fine.”
As the coronavirus pandemic ravages the economy and brings a once-roaring labor market to a near-screeching halt, layoffs have mounted at a stunning pace. A record 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, doubling the record set the previous week. But some companies have been holding off on job cuts at least temporarily, or offering other ways to cushion employees amid the crisis.
For Glaser, the calculus of making such a temporary pledge is far different than for a small retailer or travel industry start-up. Although he expects a “rough period,” he said, “we are among the fortunate not to have to worry about profitability or whether we’re going to survive.”
But because Marsh & McLennan is in what Glaser likes to call “a brains business” — reliant on his employees’ ability to focus on clients — he wanted to assuage fears and concerns. “Are we really going to have somebody remotely call somebody at their home — not knowing their personal circumstances in any degree, not knowing whether they have a loved one in the next room who’s struggling — and let them go?” Glaser said in an interview. “What would that say about us as a company?”
Several large financial institutions, including Morgan Stanley and Bank of America, said last week they will suspend layoffs until the end of the year. “We don’t want our teammates to worry about their jobs during a time like this,” Bank of America chief executive Brian Moynihan said in a CNBC interview. “We told them there’s no issue, you’re going to be working now through year end. No layoffs, nothing. We’ll continue to pay everybody.”
Visa will have no covid-19 layoffs in 2020, chief executive Alfred F. Kelly Jr. said on LinkedIn. Danone said it is securing employment contracts and wages for its 100,000 employees worldwide through June 30, including its 5,300 employees in the United States...