At Parker Clay, we have been watching, learning and understanding the progression of Covid-19 for the last several months since it began in China. More importantly, we have been proactively planning how we best protect our employees and maximize our impact during difficult times. We own our factory in Ethiopia and this is one of the reasons why. They are our team, and we care for them personally and want to do what we can to support them during times such as this. In developing countries, most people don’t have a safety net of savings to endure or handle the surge in prices of basic goods, added healthcare costs, etc. We at Parker Clay began putting into action numerous measures well before the local government was even suggesting so we could help stem the tide of the virus. At this time, there are four known and confirmed cases in Ethiopia. Here are just a few of the actions already or about to be in place:
- We had a team meeting to discuss and educate about the virus and how best to prevent the spread.
- We have purchased ample supplies of soap, cleaning supplies, sanitizing products, and personal protective equipment.
- We have a daily effort to sanitize surfaces and equipment
- We instituted mandatory hand washing throughout the day for employees and ensure we have ample water to do so safely.
- We instituted a daily check in with each employee with regards to their health status and urged anyone sick to stay home
- We have reorganized our factory to create greater distance between stitching teams
- We are in process of changing our daily work hours so that our team doesn’t have to fit on crowded transportation during the peak times of the day.
- We are currently evaluating the rental of a bus or vehicle that allows us to transport our workers from their home to the factory and then back home again. We are purchasing a store of basic food items (eggs, flour, teff, oil, etc.) at current and normal prices which will likely double and triple in cost, if the virus spreads. We will provide these food stuffs to our team at cost to protect their budgets and physical health.
- We provide a minimum of 30 days fully paid sick leave, as required by the Ethiopian government, and are currently evaluating extending beyond what the government requires for up to three months.
- We are evaluating how to best protect our HIV infected employees who are on Anti-retroviral’s to improve their health but yet have a compromised immune system. More to come on this one.
- We have been working with our local bank to offer loans to all of our employees at a reasonable interest rate.
- We implemented a “waiting period” for any raw materials coming from China to ensure no known virus would linger before any team member handles any of it. ** Given we are learning about this virus, we chose 9 days, which seems to be the maximum figure we could find from reputable sources.
This highlights what we are doing for our team in Ethiopia but we also have been working just as diligently on the plan for our US based team. We are also personally reaching out to determine what we can do to support so many health care workers, grocery store employees, and others who are being called upon for endless efforts to handle those who have the virus. We so appreciate what they are doing and know personally and first hand, as we have family members included in the response.
At Parker Clay, we mean it when we say “We go together”. That includes the good times and also the difficult ones. We remain open for feedback and insights from others who are doing their best to keep their team members safe and continue the level of impact throughout this season.