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Workplace Culture

What are employers doing for workers amid the increased stress of COVID-19?

Meghan McCarty Carino Nov 13, 2020
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Drazen Zigic/iStock via Getty Images
Workplace Culture

What are employers doing for workers amid the increased stress of COVID-19?

Meghan McCarty Carino Nov 13, 2020
Heard on:
Drazen Zigic/iStock via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
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The United States is dealing with a lot right now, collectively: record COVID-19 cases, record hospitalizations, widespread unemployment, financial insecurity — and many won’t even be able to spend the holidays with loved ones.

Some employers get what their workers are going through, and they’re responding to the increased stress. Some employers don’t.

It’s been a tough couple weeks for Courtney Copenhaver, a pharmacy technician at a hospital in Elkhart, Indiana, that’s seen a surge in COVID patients.

“We’ve been severely short-staffed,” Copenhaver said. “I mean, we don’t really have time for lunch breaks.”

Copenhaver said she has struggled with depression and anxiety, and woke up recently with a migraine coming on, so she took a mental health day off of work.

“You know, how can you take care of patients if you can’t take care of yourself?” she asked.

In a recent Marketplace-Edison Research Poll, about a quarter of respondents said their employer had given them additional paid time off during the pandemic.

Mike Spinale is the head of HR at Boston software company Appneta, which is giving employees every other Friday off until the end of the year.

“The intent was step away from your screens, step away from your Slack, take time for yourself,” Spinale said.

But these kinds of benefits most often go to those with higher-wage, white-collar jobs, potentially leaving out many low-wage essential workers.

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