As the Nation comes together to slow the spread of COVID-19, on March 16th, the President issued updated Coronavirus Guidance for America. This guidance states that: “If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule."
John Deere continues to operate in the face of COVID-19 because our business, as designated by the President of the United States and the United States Department of Homeland Security, is essential to ensuring community and national resilience and well-being.
Keeping farmers and those involved in infrastructure and energy production up and running is essential to food production and our ability to support critical infrastructure needs. Today, our employees were identified by the Department of Homeland Security as essential critical infrastructure workers, defined as “the essential workers needed to maintain the services and functions Americans depend on daily and need to be able to operate resiliently during the COVID-19 pandemic response."
This designation does not take away from the fact that our priority continues to be the safety and well-being of our employees and the communities we serve. To that end, we have put in place international and domestic travel restrictions, staggered shift schedules to enable social distancing, remote and flexible work arrangements for those employees not required in factory operations, enhanced cleaning and sanitation regimens across our facilities, and enhanced social distancing, among other efforts.
We're continuing to monitor guidance from regulatory bodies, including state and federal officials, the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.
Our efforts to keep our factories running is to ensure we're able to keep our customers operational with the parts, service, finance, support and equipment they rely on us for—including farmers and contractors who are critical to the well-being of our nation and world.
Following are related messages shared with employees at John Deere factories.
John Deere continues to operate in the face of coronavirus (COVID-19) because our business is essential to ensuring community and national resilience.
John Deere's operations, your work, and the businesses we support are so important that the government considers us an “essential business" needed by our community and country to overcome COVID-19.
- You are considered an “essential critical infrastructure worker" in that you are instrumental in manufacturing and maintaining the equipment necessary for our country's agricultural production and distribution.
- When you walk into the factory, we hope you are thinking about the farmer who's getting fields ready for spring planting. Many of us have never seen store shelves so empty, and only our customers can help refill them.
- You are considered an “essential critical infrastructure worker" in that you are instrumental in manufacturing and maintaining the equipment necessary for our country's transportation, water, public works, and other infrastructure.
- When you walk into the factory, we hope you are thinking about the construction contractor who's leaving his or her family to maintain and build roads we need to simply connect us to us to our homes, grocery stores, and hospitals. Our customers make and maintain those connections.
- You are considered an “essential critical infrastructure worker" in that you are instrumental in manufacturing and maintaining the equipment necessary for our country's production and distribution of timber, paper, and other wood products.
- When you walk into the factory, we hope you are thinking about the logger who's harvesting the wood we need for products we never fully appreciated until today. We have a shortage of paper surgical masks, tissues, and toilet paper. Only our customers make these products possible.
John Deere customers and dealers are thinking about you. You are the most important reason why we have earned their trust and business. You keep them running. Throughout our company's history—and particularly during hardest times—generations of employees like you, performing their work with care and passion, have made John Deere a universal mark of quality and reliability. We appreciate everything you do.
Your health and safety are our highest priority. And we're taking aggressive actions to protect them.
In response to COVID-19, our factories have already adopted new health and safety protocols to ensure that our facilities clean and disinfected.
We are also working actively with the UAW and others to make the necessary adjustments to both increase social distancing as well as ensure effective operations.
It is not just your health and safety that matter. It is providing you and your loved ones with peace of mind during an uncertain time for everyone. This means protecting your wages and benefits.
If you must miss work due to possible exposure to or symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you will be paid 100% of base wages/salary for up to 14 calendar days. As a reminder, if you are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, do not report to work.
If you have a confirmed case of COVID-19, for up to 14 calendar days, you will be paid 100% of base wages/salary. After 14 calendar days, your disability benefits will apply.
In the event you are challenged to make necessary childcare arrangements, you are encouraged to request accommodation opportunities from your supervisor/manager. Those accommodations could include: available paid time off (vacation, PVD, sick days (if applicable)) or unpaid time off. Supervisors/managers will maintain final approval discretion for these requests.
Employees who fall within the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) definition of higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, may request through unit or global Occupational Health accommodations. Consult your personal health care provider for more information.
We will temporarily waive “waiting periods" for receipt of Weekly Indemnity (WI) benefits for employees with an increased risk of getting very sick due to COVID-19. You must still follow the normal approval process for WI benefits. The waiting period waiver will be in effect through at least 31 March 2020. We will revisit the waiting period waiver as required.
John Deere will be revisiting operations and policies regularly and will update you regularly. Please visit One.Deere.com for ongoing updates related to COVID-19.