COMPANIES, JOB CHALLENGES AND COVID 19
Companies of all sizes have been challenged by COVID 19. Each sector of the economy, according to its level of economic impact from city closures and large quarantines, has taken up the challenge.
During the first weeks of quarantine there was rush, despair, panic, temporary decisions and a lot of confusion in labor relation issues, it was not clear if there was force majeure, if it was possible to fire, suspend, reduce wages, make direct agreements.
To start with companies had to regulate work at home at high speed, which was not exactly teleworking, it was something else, which in the midst of the crisis demanded investment to install remote jobs. But what investment if there was no income?
Companies that did have income and were positively impacted by market changes due the pandemic, had to regulate the health risk of their workers, watch over them, train them in all instances and change the systems of safety and health at work.
On the contrary, companies that lost their income completely, began a journey full of obstacles that is still ongoing. First they suspended employment contracts for a few weeks, deciding in the midst of the crisis whether the suspension was with a basic minimum payment, without pay, or with a bonus, thinking on how to justify such decisions to the labor ministry in anticipation of future complaints.
Then came the layoffs due to lack of income, without resources to pay settlements and knowing that the companies were not responsible for the layoffs. They fired staff without knowing if lawsuits would come in which they were branded guilty just for losing income.
And as this happened, the authority from the Colombian labor ministry published decrees every morning generating more and more confusion, the Labor Law or the Substantive Labor Code, was suspended.
Agreements, conciliations, new ways of interacting between employers and workers were signed, seeking to survive the pandemic and reduce the impact of a closed and paralyzed economy.
The winners, who always are and will be in the economic game regardless of the size of the crisis, earned income, but had to invest in adapting their products or services to the pandemic.
The economic depression has not ended and labor problems will last for many months and even years to come, and so will a plethora of disputes and lawsuits.
The way of doing business has changed, our mentality towards work is different and we will not back down, since everyday new opportunities and exciting challenges will arise.