A Message from Our President and CEO
These are extraordinary times, and everyone around the world — from public officials, medical care providers and business leaders — has a lot of questions and concerns about COVID-19.
At Cox, we're evaluating the news and information we're receiving — and the actions we're planning — with a people-first attitude. Our business provides our livelihood, but our employees are our family and the foundation of everything we are. Protecting them is our first concern, as well as ensuring the safety of our customers and partners.
Next, we're planning how best to conduct our business as good citizens of America — knowing our planning and our actions can and will make a difference.
We were early in deciding to postpone or cancel all non-essential gatherings of people until the spread of the virus slows down. We began by asking all employees on our corporate campus — more than 7,000 people — to participate in an infrastructure technology test and work from home, if possible. Two days later, a majority responded to a survey and overwhelmingly (98%) said all systems were running smoothly.
Since then, we've been rolling out telework opportunities for more and more operations across the country. We're encouraging all our call centers and auctions to operate remotely and digitally as quickly as they deem practical — through May 1 as much as possible.
We are taking several measures to ensure our people are safe and secure —financially and physically — during these uncertain times.
Our hourly employees will receive additional paid time off if they are unable to work or are caring for someone due to a COVID-19 related illness, quarantine, school or day care closure.
For our Cox Communications employees in the field whose work cannot be performed remotely, like in our retail stores or in the office, we are providing business continuity awards. These employees will be paid 10-15% of their hourly base rate (or a daily amount for exempt employees) from March 22 through May 1.
The science is clear: The more we limit our gatherings and deploy widespread cleaning — of our assets, but also our hands — the faster we will stop the spread of the virus. And the benefits of making these decisions quickly are immense.
We know this crisis will impact business, but our primary concern right now is doing what’s right for our employees, customers and our communities. The James M. Cox Foundation is providing millions to purchase equipment to make COVID-19 diagnostic testing more readily available in our community. At Cox Communications, we've waived late fees and won’t disconnect residential and small-business customers who can't pay their bills due to this crisis. We're opening Cox WiFi hotspots to the public to help keep people connected and are increasing speeds for our lower tier and Connect2Compete packages.
This company is made up of people who look out for others and is always willing to do what we can to be a force for good. Back in 2005, we launched the Cox Employee Relief Fund (CERF) after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. CERF was initially funded by employees for employees, and later endowed by various members of the Cox family. It's continued to grow in the years since and has helped many Cox employees and their loved ones. We’re glad it’s there when we need it.
In light of the current crisis, CERF is expanding its aid to include COVID-19 related needs including increased food expenses, lost wages due to mandated curfews, lockdowns, layoffs or business closures and basic expenses for college-age children impacted by campus closings. Employees may request assistance with basic utilities, food allowance, temporary lodging and expenses for college-age student, rent or mortgage payments.
Cox has been through some truly extraordinary times in its 122 years — world wars, the flu pandemic, economic meltdowns, social upheaval and now this. All these challenges are unpredictable and difficult, but we got through those and together will get through this one.
As a family-owned company, our ability to plan for the long-term pays off at times like this. Whether it’s doing business continuity planning or making tough decisions, we’ve been able to remain strong and stable over the long haul. No one knows what’s ahead, but our thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted by COVID-19 at this time.
Thank you for all you do. Stay healthy and be safe.