Businesses struggle to stay open during COVID

Updated: Aug. 28, 2020 at 8:06 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - It’s no doubt many employers are under fire right now, fighting a battle to do right by their employees while also trying to keep business alive.

“The vast majority of employers are small employers, probably with less than 50 employees,” says Robert Lockwood, a Huntsville attorney with a focus in employment law. “So, they’re facing the exact same hardships that all of us are right now. Coronavirus has slowed business across the board, and most of my clients are just trying to figure out how to keep the doors open throughout this crisis.”

While employers do want to help their employees and accommodate for their financial hardships brought on by the virus, some are still forced to make the hard decision of denying employees paid time off, which is allowed in some cases (click here for more info on when covid-related PTO is authorized).

“Employers are concerned about their employees. Employees are the life blood of every business,” says Lockwood. “At the same time, we’ve got to keep businesses open, and sometimes I think what employees don’t realize is -- yes, you want to be out on leave with pay to take care of your family, but if you’re out on leave with pay, that means your employer also has to pay somebody else to replace you. So, that doubles the cost sometimes of doing business, and in these tight times where employers are struggling to keep the doors open... Sometimes they just can’t afford to give employees everything that they want.”

As a result, while this of course is a challenging situation, consider this an encouragement for employers to simply do what they can to do right by their employees and for employees to do what they can to do right by their employers.

“Employers aren’t trying to pull one over on employees,” says Lockwood. “They’re just trying to figure out ways that they can continue to do business and have a good team and have a good product in the middle of all this chaos that we’re going through.”

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