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Not a personal finance guru

I applaud companies who are offering their employees the ability to work from home because their “safety and health” is important.

And today it’s #EmployeeAppreciationDay

I’ve seen countless articles of companies implementing preventative measures for their salary workers. In fact, some friends have shared how their companies have created contingency plans, reinforced IT support, and reminding them about health benefits.

Now, what I don’t see are options for hourly employees. Employees who get paid based on the number of hours worked and required to be in front of customers.

What are the contingencies for hourly employees who get sick or quarantined for testing? Do they get sick pay even though they haven’t accrued hours yet? What happens if they are furloughed? What happens when there are no hours of work that equates to a paycheck?

I had a reader email me.

She’s stressed. She’s not worried about getting sick as much as worried about income.

And sadly. I don’t have answers for her.

I don’t know if she’ll have sick pay that can cover 14 days. I don’t know if not working 2 weeks will impact her health benefits because no pay means no deductions for her portion of insurance. I don’t know about the options a person whose job is providing in-person service have in this situation.

I also don’t know how she’ll pay her rent or utilities. I don’t know what options she has with lenders and banks. I just don’t know.

So I am asking questions.

Sure, one can say she should have this savings or that savings. And although I agree that is what emergency funds are for, it doesn’t solve the current issues many people are facing. What are we doing and going to do now?

I had a “colleague” who said it’s not his fault people don’t have savings or they should just “get a better” job.

“Where’s the compassion and empathy,” I asked.

Are we angry that people don’t have jobs and then angry at people with jobs? And then are we angry that people don’t have better jobs that allow them to work from home and get a paycheck?

The very same people who may be stressed about their incomes are the ones who are cleaning your offices, stocking the shelves, serving you lunch, getting your drive-thru order, mixing your lattes, serving you at the bank branch while you’re “working from home.”

He said, “you’re not much of a personal finance guru.”

To which I replied, I am a financial wellness advocate who sees the value of human life, not just the financial cost. So yea I believe in personal responsibility, but I also believe in personal accountability to one another.

So, I’m asking questions. I’m hoping someone can shed a light on what companies are doing for their hourly employees. I want to know so I can at least offer some sign of support for those stricken with financial stress. Stress that gets people physically sick and may make them more prone to any virus.

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Jason Vitug

Jason Vitug is founder at phroogal, creator of the award-winning project the Road to Financial Wellness, and author of the bestseller and NY Times reviewed book, You Only Live Once: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness and a Purposeful Life.

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