3 Models to Balance the Labor Market Amid the Pandemic


Ian Carleton Schaefer, Nathaniel M. Glasser, and Steven M. Swirsky, Members of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, co-authored an article in Law360, titled “3 Models to Balance the Labor Market Amid the Pandemic.” (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly transformed the national employment landscape in a matter of weeks and in innumerable ways. After decades of sustained job growth, the last month has seen the U.S. shed millions of jobs. And with social distancing, stay-at-home and other orders being extended, further workforce reductions and disruptions can be expected.

The pandemic has also created a paradoxical and unique labor market imbalance and has the potential to shift the balance of power between employers and employees.

While travel, hospitality and traditional retail businesses have been devastated through furloughs (the temporary layoff of workers that is expected to last no longer than six months and with an expectation to return) and permanent layoffs, e-commerce and other essential industries have found themselves with significant needs for labor on an emergent basis, often calling for employees to work under increasingly challenging working conditions.

This unique imbalance fosters an equally unique opportunity for all parties — the public sector, private sector and organized labor — to be creative for the sake of their employees, their businesses and the U.S. economy more broadly.

This article considers three models for addressing the imbalanced supply of labor from the scores of businesses who have furloughed or permanently laid off workers, with the spiking demand for expedited labor in those essential service businesses, and the legal issues attendant with each model. ...

Related video: The COVID-19 Labor Market Imbalance - In #WorkforceWednesday, attorneys Nathaniel Glasser and Ian Carleton Schaefer discuss how employers can use creative approaches to address the sudden imbalance the COVID-19 pandemic has created in the labor market.