COVID-19 and Private Equity: U.S. Employment and Compensation Considerations

20 April 2020
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The abrupt economic slowdown and wide-spread stop-work orders arising from the COVID-19 pandemic have put a sharp focus on nearly all areas of human capital and workforce management. On April 16, 2020, Debevoise’s Private Equity Group held a COVID-19 briefing focusing on these issues, including workforce re-engagement strategies, areas of potential employment litigation arising out of furloughs and reductions in force, the new landscape in employee health and safety, and compensation plan considerations.

To access the on-demand recording of the presentation, please click here. Highlights include the following:

Weighing workforce reduction options

  • Wage and hour reductions
  • Furlough
  • Layoffs

Preparing for a likely rise in employment litigation

  • Individual wrongful termination
  • Class-wide challenges
  • WARN Act suits
  • Working-while-furloughed and overtime claims

Employee health and safety: Return to work is not a return to normal

  • Distancing
  • Equipment and cleaning
  • Government guidance
  • Communication with employees

Retaining and motivating key employees in the post-pandemic ages

  • Short-term incentives (e.g., cash bonuses)
  • Long-term incentives (e.g., equity)

Planning for a changed landscape

  • Remote work is here to stay
  • ADA prohibitions on medical inquiries will likely continue to be a secondary priority to pandemic response
  • Health, safety and worker protections will come to the fore—for employees and regulators

As an additional resource, please see our checklist outlining Top 10 Return to Work Considerations for U.S. Employers.