As the COVID-19 crisis continues to create uncertainty for many businesses, Charter Communications is promising no layoffs or furloughs for at least the next 60 days.
The announcement comes after Charter – which operates Spectrum cable and internet – has taken other steps to increase compensation and protections for employees. The company is planning wage increases for all hourly workers from $15 to $20 over the next two years with immediate increases of $1.50 an hour for frontline field and customer operations employees. Charter also said it’s offering three weeks of COVID-19 related flex time and enhanced health plans to waive costs for diagnostic testing services and telehealth visits for 90 days.
“These employees are providing the critical services that allow for uninterrupted internet, telephone and TV news for more than 29 million customers including lifeline institutions like hospitals, first responders and government facilities. We are grateful for their around-the-clock work supporting and maintaining our customers’ residential and business connectivity needs during the COVID-19 health and economic crisis. At Charter, we will continue to support our employees as we navigate together the competing demands placed on all of us during this pandemic,” the company said in a statement.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, other cable companies are offering financial incentives to their frontline employees who are at increased risk of exposure.
Comcast said that it is giving its customer-facing employees who cannot work from home an increase to their base salary. Altice USA recently announced plans to give 20% premium pay on hours worked for its customer-interfacing retail and field service employees. AT&T is paying a 20% bonus above the regular hourly base rate of pay to its frontline union employees.
Operators like Charter and Comcast are facing impacts to their cable segment businesses. Broadband is more vital than ever which will result in lower customer churn and potentially some accelerated subscriber growth, but video services will likely see higher amounts of customers canceling or downgrading service as family budgets get tighter and key programming like live sports remain off the air.