Verizon announced today that it’s immediately implementing a significantly enhanced compensation plan for the company’s employees who must deploy outside their homes to meet critical customer needs. These mission-critical employees are unable to work remotely as they fulfill and repair broadband orders and connection issues, maintain networks and offer products to customers immediately and in person when deemed essential, the company said in a press release.
It is not known how much influence the Communications Workers of America (CWA) had in getting Verizon employees better benefits as a result of COVID-19. The union represents approximately 30,000 of Verizon’s employees. Last week, the CWA was able to capture an additional 20% pandemic pay boost for AT&T field technicians and other workers. Verizon did not identify what their increase will be for workers.
“Now, more than ever, our networks must remain operational as we continue to provide essential services to healthcare workers and facilities, first responders, schools, businesses, and families,” said Christy Pambianchi, Verizon’s Chief Human Resources Officer. “From the very beginning, ensuring the health and safety of our employees has been our highest priority. We’re leaving no stone unturned and doing everything within our power to make sure our employees are kept safe and healthy as they bring essential products and services to our customers.”
The pay enhancements and other changes come as more states around the nation are asking residents to shelter in place because of the coronavirus (COVID-19). As part of the company’s “Essential On-Site Services Pay” program, eligible retail employees will receive an increase in their base hourly rate when working in a corporate-owned retail location. The company’s eligible network, logistics and real estate employees, including field technicians, will receive an enhancement on top of their regular base wages.
In addition to the wage enhancements for the company’s workforce, the company has made additional proactive changes in order to protect the health of its employees. Currently, more than a third of Verizon’s installation and maintenance technicians are keeping their work vehicles at their homes to support social distancing.
More than 100,000 company employees are now positioned to work remotely
More than 70 percent of Verizon’s corporate-owned retail locations are now closed. As part of a massive employee transition plan, the company is preparing to re-train and re-deploy thousands of its retail employees to work-from-home functions. The company has also increased resources and capabilities for handling customer inquiries, sales and troubleshooting using online tools found at www.vzw.com and the MyVerizon app. With these virtual tools, virtually any business transaction can now be handled remotely.
“In every facet of our business, we’ve initiated new and innovative ways to transition traditional roles to work-from-home functions whenever possible,” said Pambianchi. “These new efforts will allow us to redeploy thousands of our retail employees to support customer service functions and engage in telesales from their homes.”
Comprehensive employee leave and assistance policies for COVID-19 issues
Verizon has also implemented a comprehensive coronavirus leave of absence policy. Those who contract the virus are eligible for up to 26 weeks paid leave. For employees caring for someone who’s been infected, for employees directed to stay home due to an underlying medical condition and for employees who have trouble finding childcare at this time, Verizon provides 8 weeks of pay at full pay and, if needed, an additional six weeks with 60% of their base wage.