Companies from all industries and all sizes have felt the effects of COVID-19 and for those in the restaurant and food service verticals, there have been intense impacts.
 
In effort to support its employees who now find themselves in a world of uncertainty, Sodexo has launched a number of initiatives to aid its staff find work, stay working, or support them if they are out of a position. 
 
"The weight of this moment is being felt by all," said Sarosh Mistry, Chair for Sodexo North America, in a Sodexo press release. "We have sent condolence notes to grieving families and team members, and at the same time are lifted back up daily by the heroic efforts our teams display. Watching our teams feed school children, set up field hospitals and keep the medical sector working gives us hope – which right now we desperately need.”
 
Some of the new support services are as follows:
 
Sodexo Employee Relief Fund
 
Due to the virus and its effects, Sodexo has had to lay off employees. However, the brand has also announced a 30 million euro, around $33 million, global relief fund.
 
A Workforce Resource Center
 
This workforce resource center for displaced employees provides more than 300,000 different job opportunities among 33 vendor and partner companies. Some of them include Amazon, Kroger and PepsiCo.
 
Internal Placement for Employees
 
Sodexo has announced an internal placement program for employees who would like to work at high-need areas, as some employees are working at a partial basis or worked at stores that have closed.
 
Pop-Up Grocery Stores for Staff
 
Due to the need for items being less readily available, and employees unable to access them being at the job, some sites have put on-site pop-up grocery stores for employees to get the items they need.
 
Extended Sick Leave
 
Sodexo announced a new sick leave policy in mid-March that allowed up to 21 days of paid sick leave for an employee with the virus or those who were asked not to come into work because they had symptoms of the virus.
 
Community Efforts
Multiple Sodexo stores have donated food and supplies to communities in need. According to the press release, Sodexo says they are preparing and sharing more than 270,000 meals each day. Also, in March, more than 122,000 pounds of food was donated to local food banks and area nonprofits as well as more than 116,000 free meals were prepared for first responders, emergency personnel and medical teams.
 
“I would like to thank our external partners, vendors, suppliers and clients in addition to all our internal efforts that are doing what can be done to help people find work, stay working and support them if they're out of work,” said Sarosh Mistry, Chair for Sodexo North America, in the same press release. “While many employees will qualify for unemployment, we will never stop looking for ways to help our Sodexo family."

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