I know that this is a stressful time for everybody, and I’m so grateful for the way our Red Cross family has demonstrated dedication, professionalism, and compassion. During times of crisis, our country turns to the American Red Cross, and I’m so proud that we are continuing to fulfill our mission every day. Please know that I am profoundly thankful for your lifesaving work.
We also need to ensure the health, wellbeing and safety of our employees and volunteers. The leadership team and I have been working hard to help keep you safe and ease the spread and impact of the coronavirus on your lives.
As I mentioned in my message to you last week, we have been revising our policies regarding attendance and leave. You may have heard that Congress is working on a bill to help small business employees, but unfortunately that doesn’t apply to nonprofits, Therefore, we are taking extraordinary measures to help our employees manage through these challenging times. We recently notified our national union Coalition partners of our desire as well, and we are working very collaboratively with them.
Our plans include special provisions for people who either are diagnosed with COVID-19, have been quarantined or are caring for family members, are at high risk, or are caring for a child due to school or childcare closures.
Employees Diagnosed with COVID-19
Employees who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 will be paid for two weeks’ leave.
Asymptomatic Employees Quarantined for 14 Days Due to Travel or Close Contact Exposure to Someone Diagnosed with COVID-19 including Caring for a Family Member Who Has Been Diagnosed with COVID-19
Employees with jobs where they can normally work from home should do so and they will receive their regular pay. Employees who cannot do their regular job from home will be given the option to do other work from their home. Employees who opt into this provision will be given work and we will pay these employees for two weeks, regardless of the actual hours worked.
High Risk Status Employees Working in Yellow, Orange or Red Communities
Employees who work in communities identified by the local public health officials as yellow, orange, or red communities, who meet the Red Cross definition of high risk, and who have been advised not to go to work due to the coronavirus outbreak will be eligible for this program. The Red Cross defines high risk (based on CDC guidance) as being 65 years old or older; having a serious health condition; or being pregnant.
High risk employees will have the same options available to them as those who are asymptomatic and quarantined or caring for a family member (see above).
Caring for a Child Due to School Closure or Childcare Closure
For employees who have childcare issues due to school or childcare closures related to COVID-19 and are unable to do their regular job from home, they will be given up to one week of pay at two-thirds their straight time hourly rate of pay.
There are also issues that are unique to our workforce who are well and able to work, but who cannot do their jobs because blood drives have been cancelled in the communities where they work. We understand the detrimental impact this loss of work has on our staff. For those employees, we will make every effort to reassign them to other drives or to other work, like we do in normal business circumstances. We are carefully monitoring the volume of drives that are being cancelled, and we will look for ways to mitigate the impact on our staff.
Nothing is more important to me than our people. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this coronavirus and I encourage you to take appropriate precautions. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
I know that there is a great deal of uncertainty right now – in our country and around the world. We have a beautiful and important mission at the American Red Cross, to alleviate suffering in the face of emergencies. We know and understand how to deal with crises. In fact, we excel at it. This crisis will test us, and I am confident that we will all do our best to fulfill our mission and at the same take care of one another by being especially kind to our fellow Red Crossers.
I’m proud of you!
With an abundance of gratitude,