The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed our understanding of what and who is “essential,” and we’ve become intensely aware of society’s dependence on low-wage, frontline workers. Additionally, the global health crisis has exhibited, and often exacerbated, the social, economic, and health inequities in our society with communities of color being disproportionately impacted and representing a large portion of frontline and essential workers.
As businesses work to reopen, investors are offering recommendations and guidance on how to prioritize the long-term health and safety of employees. Through an investor working group, Mercy Investment Services helped develop an ‘Employee First’ framework to guide companies during this process. The framework includes four key recommendations: 1) establish and promote permanent paid sick and family leave; 2) address workplace health and safety concerns through worker-led collaboration; 3) assess the long-term trajectory of workforce needs and link valuing human capital management to corporate value creation; and 4) publicly advocate for fact-based health and safety practices in local communities. As part of a larger investor outreach, Mercy sent letters to Allegiant Air, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Dine Brands with these recommendations and will continue to engage companies with frontline workers on their efforts to build back to a more resilient and equitable workforce.