How Has COVID-19 Impacted Employee Benefits?

Posted By: Team Moody,

More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, it would be a gross understatement to say that it has affected many areas of our personal and professional lives in significant ways. For numerous businesses across the United States, the impact of the health crisis has been nothing short of staggering.

Today, millions of enterprises, from small backyard operations to large multinational conglomerates, scramble to deal with the pandemic’s effects on operations and workers. In this changing landscape, M.D. Employee Benefits are proving to be especially valuable.

Employee benefits have always been a crucial area of concern. Benefits programs are increasingly subject to calls for modification and realignment, particularly concerning their usefulness for employees.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected employee benefits programs and systems? Are employees’ needs getting sufficient attention as companies reel in the continued onslaught of the pandemic? Let’s take a look at how some companies address employee benefits.

Access to benefits information

Early on in the pandemic, many companies immediately recognized the need to bolster their communications practices and transparency policies. Cisco, in particular, acknowledged the importance of keeping workers updated on how management was responding to the crisis. For CEO Chuck Robbins, it was imperative to utilize all available resources in helping everyone in the firm cope with the situation.

Intel took things a step further by setting up a COVID-19 microsite that included health insurance information and testing options. The site also offered real-time updates and data resources that employees could readily access.

IBM, for its part, sought to ease concerns about the availability of health insurance. The company also later clarified the leaves available to workers, so they could take time off as needed without going through a time-consuming process.

Access to healthcare

Medical benefits have long been an essential aspect of employer-employee partnerships. Telemedicine–which is the remote diagnosis and treatment of health issues–has been proposed to reduce the costs associated with employee healthcare.

Now, with the pandemic in full swing, telemedicine has proved to be even more helpful. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, as many as 86% of companies surveyed now encourage their employees to use telehealth and telemedicine services for their health concerns.

The U.S. government also stepped in to ease healthcare concerns among employees. In March 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was introduced. This essentially required employers to provide workers with COVID-19 symptoms with 14 days of paid sick leave. This benefit is also available to employees who need to care for family members with symptoms of the condition.

Some firms have opted to tackle the coronavirus issue head-on, providing test kits to their workers. More promisingly, more and more companies are taking a proactive role in helping ensure their employees’ health via virtual training platforms.

Target is one such firm, giving their workers access to online resources at no cost. These resources deal with mental, emotional, and physical health issues, all of which are critical areas of concern during the time of COVID. The company’s employees also have access to stress management apps and fitness-oriented virtual classes.

Child and elder care

The issues of child and elder care warrant special mention. Distance learning became a reality for children, and many senior adults no longer had access to external caregivers. Workers had to deal with these added roles, apart from working from home and managing increasingly difficult office situations.

Some companies sought to alleviate the added burden by giving their workers more time off or providing subsidized care. IBM, for example, gave their employees four weeks of emergency leave, all fully paid and subject to flexible scheduling.

Amazon provided 650,000 of its workers with several days of subsidized child or adult care for emergencies. Available through, the in-home care is mainly paid for by Amazon.

COVID-19 changes: The good and the bad

The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly affected our lives negatively in many ways. The full impact has yet to be seen, and its effects will likely stay with us for a long time to come.

But something we can take from all this is that not all the changes are negative. Along with the bad, we can also take comfort in knowing that there is now a greater focus on important previously neglected and unaddressed issues.

Issues such as mental, emotional, and physical health are now acknowledged as crucial to our well-being. Partly because of the pandemic, we see employers developing and modifying benefits programs to address these aspects. One can only hope that these issues continue to be prioritized in employee benefits programs even after the pandemic is over.

About Moody Insurance Worldwide

Moody Insurance Worldwide, a division of Moody & Associates that was founded in 1914, is a leading provider of risk management programs and insurance coverage to individuals and businesses across the East Coast. We write all sizes of businesses, with technical expertise in many key industry areas, and provide personal insurance programs for estates and high net worth individuals. Our licensed, experienced commercial account managers can work with you to determine the coverage that you need at a competitive rate. Contact us today at (855) 868-0170 to learn more about what we can do for you.