Rebounding From a Coronavirus Pay Cut

If you’re like many Americans today, the coronavirus pandemic has forced you take a cut in pay. For some it’s a relatively small amount; for others it’s significant. For everyone, it’s unknown when their full pay will be restored. As people begin to return to work over the months ahead, it’s surely one of the questions they’ll want to ask. But when is the right time to approach your manager?

Right now, given the uncertainty of the financial markets and the economy, job security is the more important issue, says MRI’s Nancy Halverson, SVP Global Operations. “Employees should be thinking about how they can help their companies get back on their feet,” she says. “It’s difficult, of course, when the stress and worry of pressing financial obligations is wearing you down, but it’s critical to the survival of many businesses.”

What are some things that individuals can do to accelerate the recovery process? “Employees can take personal responsibility for seeking out problems and coming up with solutions,” advises Halverson.  “During this time of remote working, you have probably adapted the way you work or how you deal with clients to accommodate the situation. Ask yourself what you’ve learned that can better support the company’s operations.”

You can also volunteer to take on an extra project that demonstrates you are a team player willing to pitch in and do whatever is necessary. “Look upon this as an opportunity,” says Halverson. “Your efforts will likely be remembered – and rewarded – after we all get through this. You’ll be seen as someone who can take charge during an unprecedented event.” And if you can’t come up with anything requiring your immediate assistance, talk to your manager about what you can do to help out. 

This is also a time when you should reach out to your co-workers to see how they are managing and if you can help reduce their anxiety. “People need to know that they’re not alone,” Halverson points out. “They need to share their feelings, and so do you, during what is an extremely mentally draining situation. We have to care for each other.”

When we are finally through this crisis, these are the stories that will be remembered – the volunteering, the reaching out to colleagues, going the extra mile. And one day, maybe even the pay cuts will be restored.