This is definitely one of the sadder posts we’ve had to make. Three weeks ago we were all humming along as normal, and then — Boom! Massive layoffs were upon us, the magnitude of which we have never seen in the history of this country.
At Powerfully Simple HR & Leadership, we have received a lot of calls this week asking what employers need to do to carry out the layoff process.
The hardships of COVID-19 may have a detrimental effect on your business and ultimately your employees. If your business has been required to close its doors or if you are unable to sustain enough business to keep your employees on payroll, you may be considering laying off some, if not all your employees.
The Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) recognizes a lack of demand or slowdown in your business, or a requirement to shut your doors due to the COVID-19 quarantine may lead to making this difficult decision.
How to Perform Layoffs
Documenting this process is essential to ensuring your business is acting in good faith. Here is what your documentation should include:
The people we work with often feel like a second family to us. We share birthdays, celebrations, teamwork, and success. Because we see them everyday, our coworkers are often are the people who hear about our sorrows and troubles as well. Recognize that your employees are not only losing their income, but much of their social circle at the same time.
If your employees are on Standby, keep them in the loop by providing weekly updates as the situation changes. If you can, check in on your employees. As you hear of resources that become available, such as expanded unemployment benefits, let your employees know. All of these actions will go a long way toward helping your employees feel secure, and letting them know that you care.
Will Your Employees Be Eligible for Unemployment Insurance?
Eligibility: Employees laid off due to COVID-19
Waiting Period: The traditional one-week waiting period to be eligible has been waived.
Standby Status: Employees applying for Standby Status will not have to look for another job while collecting unemployment benefits for up to 12 weeks. Affected employees should be referred to the Employment Security Department website.
An Unemployment Benefits Application Checklist is attached for your information and available to provide to your affected employees.
Other Things to Consider
A special thank you to Michelle Helder, who wrote the majority of this article.
This article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice. Only your attorney can give you legal advice.
Cortney Stehlik-Freeman works with leaders to break through the profit ceiling by turning human resources from a cost center to a profit center.