Oxfam urges U.S businesses to re-focus operations to benefit communities & employees amid COVID-19

Author: Irit Tamir, Oxfam America, Published on: 8 April 2020

“What’s the role of business in the COVID-19 crisis?”, 2 April 2020

[B]usiness has an important role to play in addressing the health and economic impacts [of COVID-19]. [T]he Business Roundtable, a group of CEOs from 181 leading US companies, said it was re-defining the purpose of the corporation for the benefit of…communities, employees, suppliers, and customers.

Some companies are adopting paid sick leave policies [and are]… [closing] their stores [whilst]…still paying their employees (Patagonia), [and] other[s]are keeping stores open, playing down the risk of the virus. [Some] small businesses…are [also]…providing flexibility for their workforce to choose between reduced hours or applying for unemployment insurance, while availing themselves of new paid sick time funding…

[Businesses should]: [ensure] paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave…; avoid major layoffs…; deliver safe and healthy working conditions; including proper protective equipment…; lobby for universal healthcare…; put an immediate moratorium on executive bonuses, share repurchases, and dividend payments…, engage with workers, directly or through unions and advocacy groups…[etc.]

[Additionally to]…, call on the administration to invoke the Defense Production Act to ensure business is producing the products needed to fight the pandemic, including protective equipment, testing, medicines, and other necessities…[and that] they…are affordable and accessible to all. As we work to rebuild our economy, we must ensure that it serves all of us, not just the top one percent. The private sector can—and must—be a partner in that transformation for our future.

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Related companies: Patagonia