Some employees at Chewy and Spectrum’s Louisville-based call centers will be allowed to work from home, in an effort to create social distance between the remaining employees.
Both companies have been the subject of complaints filed to city health officials, and scrutiny in the media, including KyCIR.
While call centers have not been ordered to close in Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear said he would take further action if the employers didn’t find a way to comply with social distancing guidelines.
In a series of emails obtained by KyCIR, senior leadership at Chewy, the online pet supply retailer, stressed that the “health and safety of all Chewtopians is our top priority.”
As such, the company has created a temporary paid leave policy that includes 100% paid time off for the first seven days of an illness and allows employees to be paid up to 60% of their base pay for longer absences.
Employees are being given supplies and sent to work from home in stages “if the nature of their roles allow,” the email said. Over 200 employees are already working remotely, and seats are being reassigned to add space between staffers that remain.
Additionally, all hourly Louisville call center employees are receiving a temporary raise of $1.50 an hour, through May 2, the email said.
In a statement, Diane Pelkey, the vice president of communications and PR for Chewy, said “the health, safety, and well-being of our team continues to be our top priority when servicing pet parents who are relying on us during this time to deliver their pet essentials.”
Pelkey say the company has worked “quickly and diligently” to adapt company policies to the changing situation, including “new and enhanced health benefits and flexible work policies, including work from home for a considerable portion of our pharmacy techs, increasing sanitation procedures in accordance with CDC guidelines, and social distancing.”
Spectrum, the internet and cable company, has given Louisville call center employees an additional three weeks paid leave for coronavirus-related needs, and has implemented a partial remote work policy, according to a letter sent from the executive vice president for customer operations and obtained by KyCIR.
“In response to the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in, for the next few weeks and maybe months, we will be enabling Remote Work options for a portion of our front-line agents,” the letter read. “This is being done to allow for greater social distancing in our centers.”
Remote work is being prioritized for those “at higher-risk from a health standpoint,” and then the option will be made available to employees based on tenure, performance, home infrastructure and agreement to the terms of a remote work assignment, the letter said.
Employees will be sent home in waves over multiple weeks.
In a statement, Spectrum said “continuing to maintain our operations, while applying the latest CDC guidelines, ensures we provide these vital communications which help flatten the curve and protect the country. We are reviewing our business and employee continuity plans daily, and will adjust accordingly.”