Life from corner to corner of the earth has been upended by COVID-19. Sophisticated Countries Health systems are crawling and crumbling in the fight to control the pandemic. To level the curve, governments across the globe are also setting up strict measures for their citizens.
The pandemic is also leaving jolt of entrenched economic, social and financial impacts. Countries, on the other hand, are aggressively and courageously fighting the virus at the same time dealing with some social determinants. Their stimulus package is being developed to support financial prudence. Some employers are as well revisiting or drafting emergency response plans for their employees and operations.
According to the Washington Post-March 25th Edition, the Trump government concluded a deal on a $2 trillion stimulus compendium to salvage the economy from COVID-19 battering. The deal targets to downpour the economy with money by giving $1,200 checks to many adult Americans and children receiving around $500.
Elsewhere in Italy which is much assaulted by the pandemic, some businesses and families are given time off all through the financial crunch before having to pay back. Additionally, bank loan payments have been suspended in the midst of the outbreak. Many other Countries with stressed economies are wearisome about providing social support to the taxpayers, employees and other small businesses.
Through the lenses in Liberia, with three confirmed cases, the impact of COVID-19 on the economy is yet to be measured, but employees, employers and business people are already sensing the warmth of the virus assault. Employers in the private sector are cutting back on headcounts due to the paralysis of their business, or doing so in the interest of abiding by the government social distancing policy. Public sector employees have been sliced to decongest the offices. Prices of basic commodities have skyrocketed; transport fares have increased; prices of essential commodities are mountaineering due to lack of importation, and the price of disinfectants used to protect oneself against the pandemic are high-priced by the regular Liberians; and in all this fight, inflation does not have mercy- it moving stealthily up to 24%.
Judging from a difficult time, what can the Liberian government do to support?
The Association of Liberia Human Resource professional recommends is recommending that the Ministry of Labor work with private companies to ensure that the laws are implemented and employees who are working from home or asked to take leave due to the virus maintain their job upon return.
Monitoring by the Ministry of Labor. The Ministry of Labor can work with companies to ensure that fix-term contractors or employees are paid up the end of their contract, and employers should not violate their rights due to the COVID-19.
Liberianization policy: There may be international organizations flooding in temporarily to support the fight against the COVID-19. Liberians must be given the opportunity to work in line with the Liberianization policy.
Ensure Regular salary payment: The Civil Service Agency must ensure all civil servants take a regular salary to support their families during these trying times and to also keep civil servants on the payroll upon return to work. The COVID situation must not be used de-list any civil servants after during this period
Suspend Income Tax: The Government of Liberia must see the need to temporarily waive income tax payment One Hundred (100) or Fifty (50) per cent for the next three months for all employees or contractor. The waiver is an indirect stimulus package. It will also increase the disposable income of employees and help them to support their families while they are lockdown.
Suspend employees Contribution to National Social Security Corporation (NASSCORP). We are also recommended that employees 4% contribution to NASSCORP be temporarily suspended. NASSCORP employees 4% payment can also be suspended to counterbalance temporary waiver.
Reshedule Employees Loan payment: central Bank of Liberia can work with commencial banks in Liberia to reschedule loan payment for employees who have obligation with banks. The reschedule will allow employees to adequately support their families during these troubling times.
We understand that the government is cracking the nuts on the economic situation at the moment. Notwithstanding, putting the human back in human resources will serve as a significant step in the fight against COVID-19 and serve as a stimulus package for employees. We may not have the sizable budget or resources as sophisticated countries, but working with Labor, CSA, LRA and NASSCOROP all these recommendations will help Liberians employees.
Jonah Soe Kotee, MSc SHRM
Director of Human Resources | Partners in Health | Liberia|
Association of Liberian Human Resource Professionals (www.alhrp.org)
Vice President – Internet Society (Liberia Chapter) ISOC
Tel: +231 886 540 460, 0775251571 | Skype: jonah.soe.kotee | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Personal email: email@example.com | Website: www.pih.org