Employee Benefits

Alera Group Releases Results of COVID-19 Employer Pulse Survey: Phase 2

June 16, 2020

One-Third of All Employers Furloughed Employees Yet Nearly 85% Plan to Bring Back Workers

Alera Group, a national employee benefits, property and casualty, retirement services and wealth management firm, today released the results of the Alera Group COVID-19 Employer Pulse Survey: Phase 2.

The survey identified several key findings:

  • Pandemic Response: More companies have implemented a formal infectious disease response plan, and 46% of employers surveyed are putting one in place now or considering adding one.

  • Increased Furloughs and Layoffs: 30% of surveyed companies have furloughed employees, but the majority are planning to bring back those employees within three months. The restaurant/entertainment and automotive industries have been the two hardest hit, furloughing roughly 80% and 70% of their workforces respectively. Size has also played a role: companies with 1,000 or more employees furloughed the most employees, at 56%. Companies in the 2549 employee range size faired the best with those companies laying off 16% of workforce.

  • Continuing Benefits: Of those that have furloughed employees, the majority of companies are continuing benefits, rather than requiring furloughed employees to go on COBRA. This response is similar to the results from the first Pulse Survey, where 87% were continuing benefits for furloughed employees.

  • Remote Work: A third of respondents say more than 75% of their workforce is doing well with remote work. Onethird also say they are likely to require employees to continue remotely to reduce physical office costs.

  • Employee Safety: Companies are taking a variety of actions to help keep their employees safe including increasing the frequency and depth of cleaning, providing protective gear, and limiting the number of employees in certain areas.

“One thing is certain; the impacts of COVID-19 have had a wide-reaching and deep impact on nearly every industry,” said Sally Prather, Employee Benefits Practice Leader for Alera Group. “Despite the challenges from the coronavirus, since the first survey, we’ve seen that many employers have been handling the situation to the best of their abilities. The good news that is worth repeating: 84% of those employers surveyed plan to bring furloughed employees back soon with the right health precautions.”

Continues Prather, “Employers should continue to stay updated with the CDC and follow their guidelines to make sure the transition from home to workplace runs smoothly and effectively.”

The Alera Group survey was conducted online from May 18 to May 29, 2020, and consisted of 804 employers across various sizes, industries and regions. The full survey report can be viewed here. The first edition of the survey was conducted online from March 27 to April 6, 2020, and consisted of 831 employers. The first edition of the survey can be found here.


About Alera Group

With over 80 locations across the country and nearly 2,000 teammates, Alera Group works together to deliver solutions in employee benefits, property and casualty, retirement services and wealth management. Built on a unique model of collaboration, Alera Group is now the 17th largest independent insurance agency in the United States. For more information, visit aleragroup.com.