Altice USA is introducing premium pay for its field service and retail employees on the frontlines of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The increased pay program provides a 20% premium on hours worked, effective immediately and retroactive for the week starting March 28, 2020. It’s a similar increase put in place by other video and broadband providers including AT&T, which last week said it’s paying a 20% bonus above the regular hourly base rate of pay to its front-line union employees.
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts this week said that his company is setting aside $500 million to help his company’s employees who have been impacted by COVID-19. While Comcast’s broadband networks have been extra busy while most Americans social distance and work from home, the company has been impacted in other areas including advertising, theatrical releases and theme parks, which have been closed during the pandemic.
The pay bump is the latest measure taken by Altice USA during the outbreak. The cable company has also implemented a work from home program, with most of its employee base now working remotely and increased employees’ complimentary internet data speed offering to 200 Mbps.
Altice USA is also offering paid administrative leave, in addition to sick, personal and vacation time, for employees who are quarantined or diagnosed with COVID-19.
For the what the company deems essential work that cannot be conducted from home, the company said it’s increasing the frequency and intensity of cleaning and disinfecting in its locations that remain open; adjusting its practices in call centers and implementing zoning to ensure the recommended social distancing guidelines; limiting the number of customers inside open retail stores; and changing procedures for technicians entering customer homes.
That includes taking daily temperature checks; making pre-calls to ensure a customer is not sick; providing nitrile gloves, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes to be used during service visits; and having technicians use personal remote devices to avoid touching customer equipment.
The company also opened its Altice Advantage broadband service for free for 60 days to any households with K-12 and/or college students who do not currently have home internet access, and joined the Keep Americans Connected Pledge.