I posted the other day on my Instagram that the current pandemic is really testing HR departments and professionals. The information is ever-changing and unfortunately there’s a lot that we don’t know, and that’s okay. Even with all the unknown, I’ve seen HR departments and professionals THRIVE and FAIL during this pandemic which begs the question, what should an employee expect from their employer in terms of communication and support?
A good employer and HR department will aim to overcommunicate in times of stress and unknown. Specifically related to the pandemic you should know what the PPE and safety precautions that your employer is taking to ensure employee safety. These should be communicated in writing, sent via email, posted at the time clock, reiterated in department meetings, communicated in every single way possible. And when an employee isn’t following the safety precautions, it should be addressed by the employer/HR department as soon as possible. The message of NOT addressing something like that is incredibly harmful.
If you’ve been laid off or furloughed, it’s reasonable not to hear from your employer once the event (the actual layoff or furlough) has happened. Most employers have been trying to apply for SBA and Federal loans in order to keep their businesses afloat and are not able to give updates to their laid-off or furlough employees. Some employers may be able to provide periodic updates to their laid-off workforce about the status of things but there is so much unknown right now so I’m not sure it’s reasonable to expect that.
However, if you’d been laid off or furloughed, your employer should have communicated the terms of your layoff or furlough. You should have received some information related to filing for unemployment, some states actually require employers to provide separate forms detailing all the information needed to file an unemployment claim. If you’ve been furloughed you should have been advised what will happen to your benefits if applicable. Are they being maintained by your employer? Is it a COBRA event?
Keep in mind there is so much that we don’t know right now and we all need to work in being comfortable in that space. If you have specific questions or if you don’t feel like you’ve received the important information related to your work situation, you should absolutely reach out to your HR department or Manager.