Monday, March 16, 2020

Coronavirus “Catch-22”

Stay Home if You Might Have the Coronavirus

But If You Don’t Go to Work, You Won’t Get Paid

Catch-22 Definition (logic) A catch-22 is a paradoxical situation from which an individual cannot escape because of contradictory rules or limitations.

This column is directed to all businessmen, especially retailers like car dealers, department stores, etc. I’m sure, Mr. Businessman, that you’ve told your employees that they shouldn’t come into your workplace if they have symptoms that might be the Coronavirus. That gets you off the hook because you warned them, but how effective do you really expect this directive to be?

A lot of your employees, either cannot afford to go without a paycheck, or don’t want to. Human nature is such that some will come to work anyway, possibly even concealing their symptoms. Lots of employers don’t provide for sick pay or, if they do, require a doctor’s certificate to qualify. Many employees receive substantially less pay while off sick than they normally earn…especially commissioned employees.

I know what you’re thinking…a lot of my employees will take advantage of my generosity and “have a paid vacations” at my expense when they’re feeling just fine. You’re dead wrong! If you show your employees that you care for them and trust them, they won’t take advantage of you. Oh, maybe one or two will…there’s always a chance that we have a rotten apple in our barrel. But that’s a small price to pay to protect all your employees and customers, not to mention your business.

Sure, you can wait for the federal government to come to the rescue, but you know how long it takes politicians and federal bureaucracy to act. You can count on two things; politicians aren’t going to say or do anything that won’t help them get elected and the Republicans and Democrats can’t agree on anything.

If you truly want to make your workplace safer for your employees and customers, give them an incentive to stay home that they can’t refuse. Pay them as much as they would earn while staying home as they would in on the job. Pay commissioned employees based on their average earnings. Yes, this can get expensive, but not nearly as expensive if one or more employees spreads the virus to your other employees and customers. You’d be forced to close your business.

By the way, a fringe benefit of this is to build confidence in you from your employees and customers. You can’t put a price tag on that…it’s truly priceless. After the Coronavirus is “yesterday’s news”, your company’s brand and your brand as a leader will have grown substantially. I promise you that you’ll recoup, from increased sales and profits, all the costs of paying employees for staying home and then some.

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