According to “Companies reactions to COVID-19, 2nd Edition,” a new study by Mercer Marsh Benefits, over 41% out of 154 Romanian companies surveyed have not resumed their office activity. The survey was conducted in the late May – early June period.
Due to the lockdown, the most affected benefits offered by Romanian companies were team building/hangouts: 34% of the companies surveyed have decreased their budgets for this, while 43% have eliminated them completely. Employee trainings have also been affected, with only 46% of companies making no change to their budgets in this regard. Benefits that have seen little to no change were company cars, insurance policies, medical subscriptions and private pensions.
Salary policies have also seen some interesting movement. With 37% of companies implemented salary increases prior to COVID-19 outbreak, only 19% of companies have communicated salary increases prior to the outbreak and will be implemented on effective date as planned. 22% of companies have delayed the merit increase implementation for the second part of the year, while 22% of companies will completely freeze the salaries for 2020. Regarding bonuses, 24% have said that their bonus policy has been modified.
Regarding pay cuts or salary bumps, most essential employees have seen no change in this regard, 66% of them staying on their regular salary during the pandemic outbreak. However, 12% of essential employees did receive a special bonus or increased incentives. For employees who have no work due to partial or full business closures, 31% still received full pay, 13% had their pay reduced according to worked hours, and 19% were sent into technical unemployment.
“We noticed a concern from companies to adapt employee benefit packages in the new reality: organizations pay an increased attention to insurance plans and Employee Assistance Programs. With the return to the office, besides health and safety measures adopted in the workspace, organizations introduced employee insurances in their benefit packages. This new focus has increased in recent weeks, amid the increase in Covid-19 cases in Romania,” says Silvia Dumitrescu, Manager, Mercer Marsh Benefits Romania.
The most common measures undertook by organizations for the “Return to work” stage were: regular cleaning and sanitizing across facilities (93%), providing masks, gloves, hand sanitizers etc. to employees (92%), and extending the work-from-home policy on a daily-basis within the (82%).
Less popular measures for returning to work were: reimbursing travel expenses/ provide travel allowance for those employees that still need to work on-site (14%), reducing the number of working days/ per week – 1 day per week (7%), and reducing the number of working days/ per week – 2 hours per day (5%).
As for headcounts and reorganizations, 67% of companies plan to keep the same headcount as in the previous year, while 16% of participating companies actually stated that they would continue to increase the headcount this year. The estimated headcount increase is on average 14% (of the total number of employees). Only 14% of companies plan to decrease it as a consequence of COVID19. The estimated headcount decrease is on average 12% (of the total number of employees).