We are in a global pandemic. Many non-essential businesses that cannot set up work-from-home capabilities either due to the nature of their work or because doing so does not fit their business design are reducing hours or closing down indefinitely. And with these closures come many questions and concerns by the workforce. Minneapolis-based employment attorney, Kate Bischoff, says the most significant worries on the minds leaders include:  

  1. Families First Coronavirus Response – what is it and how will it help?
  2. Should they be furloughing people?
  3. Should they be putting people on unemployment, or should they make sure that everybody’s getting paid? 

Among these common questions, there are some unique ones too. Like this one, “I know the logistics of laying off my workforce. But is there unconventional advice I should know?” Kate offered some great advice to leaders who must lay off their employees.

I want you to contact them. I’m not asking you to have them do work. But in this particular time of uncertainty, the extent of which you can maintain a relationship with folks even though you’ve laid them off is important. You can be compassionate in this period of time. Normally, we lay people off and say, ‘Have a good day.’ This is different. If we’re ever going to be able to ramp up again, I want you to have people who are champions for you, who want to rally and come back to your house. Also, throw all of your money at COBRA.” 

Today, I wanted to take a moment to remind leaders and employees alike that this pandemic is about people. So when it comes to being laid off, try to keep that human element in perspective. 

Everybody has questions about what the outcome is going to mean for employees. Kate Bischoff joined me on my podcast to help answer some of the common questions about COVID-19 and the world of work. We discussed unemployment benefits, healthcare coverage, and more. If you are a leader or employee with questions, you can listen to the episode here