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Establishment response to the COVID-19 pandemic in health care and social assistance

March 28, 2022

Health care and social assistance employed 20 million private-sector workers in 2021. Employees in this industry have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic for more than 2 years. In response to the pandemic, establishments in health care and social assistance increased pay and added workplace flexibilities more frequently than establishments in the private sector overall. The mix of changes in pay, workplace flexibilities, and increases in telework reflect how establishments varied their approaches to attract and retain employees and provide their services during the pandemic.

Percent of establishments implementing responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in the health care and social assistance industry and the total U.S. private sector
Business response Health care and social assistance Total private sector

Increased telework for some or all employees

38.9% 34.5%

Started flexible or staggered work hours

27.5 24.6

Increased base wages

19.4 14.5

Started compressed or alternative work schedules

18.3 12.2

Paid one-time special monetary awards/appreciation bonuses for working during the pandemic

17.0 9.4

Started voluntary reductions in hours worked

16.3 11.0

Temporarily paid a wage premium/extra hourly amount for working during the pandemic

12.0 5.5

Started paid leave for dependent care

9.5 6.5

Paid workers who referred others to apply for jobs

7.6 4.5

Paid one-time bonuses to newly hired workers

5.1 2.4

Started job sharing

4.2 2.3

Thirty-nine percent of establishments in health care and social assistance increased telework for some or all of their employees. Twenty-eight percent started offering flexible or staggered work hours, and 19 percent increased base wages. Other common changes establishments in the industry made were starting to offer compressed or alternative work schedules (18 percent) and paying one-time special monetary awards or appreciation bonuses for working during the pandemic (17 percent).

These data are from the Business Response Survey to the Coronavirus Pandemic. For more information, see U.S. Business Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic — 2021. We also have tables and more charts on how businesses responded to the pandemic, with detail for industries, states, and establishment size.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Establishment response to the COVID-19 pandemic in health care and social assistance at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2022/establishment-response-to-the-covid-19-pandemic-in-health-care-and-social-assistance.htm (visited August 16, 2022).

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