In the middle of last month, I became someone I never thought I would be: a COVID-19 patient. In between the coughing, aches, spiking fever, and trip to the ER, I wasn’t able to work. I am not alone. As of June 10, 2020, 1,973,797 people had contracted COVID-19 in the United States. These individuals include health-care workers, people in nursing homes, and hourly workers. Some of them may be your employees.
Of course you’re concerned about keeping your business afloat in these difficult times—one study found that employment at small businesses fell 40 percent while 1.8 percent of businesses were permanently closed—but you are probably at least as concerned about your hourly workers’ health and well-being and wondering if you can help. Fortunately, there is plenty you can do, including providing them with Earned Wage Access (EWA) through PayActiv.
1) Make sure the employee knows they will be compensated while away.
Stay up to date about current Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) legislation so you can offer your workers accurate information about their eligibility. Currently, employers subject to the FMLA must provide sick leave to eligible employees, and a bill signed by the Senate offers some workers up to two weeks of COVID-19-related sick leave.
2) Give employees access to their earned wages.
Offer PayActiv’s Access Freedom and Access Choice programs, which hourly workers can use to access up to $1000 per pay period, transfer earned wages to a prepaid PayActiv Visa Debit Card or their bank, and use other PayActiv services for a very low fee ($1) or at no cost, depending on the service.
3) Decide where the worker’s role needs support.
If the job can be done remotely, consider how your worker can reprise their work and start earning again once they are feeling better. If that’s not possible, make sure work tasks are handled by another employee so your recovering worker can focus on healing.
4) Make sure someone is calling to check in.
A simple card or a phone call to see how your employee is doing can make a huge difference. Hearing from coworkers and employers when I was under the weather made me feel less alone, and the same is probably true for your workers.
5) Make sure your employee has some financial tools.
PayActiv can provide EWA and additional financial resources to your hourly workers directly through the PayActiv app. These resources include prescription discounts, which can be crucial when recovering from a serious illness; Amazon access, for grocery delivery; and Uber access, for transport to doctors’ appointments.
Rest and time off are not the only things employees with COVID-19 need. Taking a few minutes to check in and sign up your hourly workers for PayActiv—at no cost to you—can be one of the most important things you do for an employee with COVID-19.
 “Cases in the U.S.,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, June 17, 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html.
Alexander W. Bartik et al., How Are Small Businesses Adjusting to Covid-19? Early Evidence from a Survey (Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, April 2020), https://www.nber.org/papers/w26989.pdf.
 “Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employee Paid Leave Rights,” U.S. Department of Labor, https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employee-paid-leave.
 Insights Team, “Your COVID-19 Financial Emergency Kit,” PayActiv, March 30, 2020, https://www.payactiv.com/blog/your-covid-19-financial-emergency-kit/.
 Insights Team, “RxDiscount, COVID-19, and PayActiv,” PayActiv, June 2, 2020, https://www.payactiv.com/blog/rxdiscount-with-payactiv/.
More companies are investing in Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DEI)...