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COVID FAQs

The federal government, in addition to the publication of new protocols for the workplace and a check-list for operational compliance, has announced their intention to continue inspections, both random and through a community reporting process.

These inspections seek to protect employees by ensuring safe working conditions, contingency planning and documentation by the company. The government is taking the authority to demand closure of operations found in non-compliance of the protocols, or upon detection of a cluster of infected employees, and an ongoing discussion continues on possible sanctions.

The federal government has not given fiscal support to any type of company at the moment. However, they have granted credit through two programs.

  • Solidarity Credit in Good Faith, a personal credit through Social Security. It is necessary to not have been fired in the first trimester of the year.
  • Welfare, through the Secretary of Economy, is another personal credit, and the employee must be registered by the Census for Welfare.

In this sense, SMEs (small and medium companies) should look for options at the state level (each state has their own initiatives or support) or through private credits such as private credit institutions or chamber associations. It is important that the SMEs evaluate all options because the interest rates as well as the requirements vary in each case.

Monica Lugo

INSTITUTIONAL RELATION DIRECTOR

Whether an essential company currently operating in Mexico, or a non-essential company planning to re-launch their operations, it is important to comply with key protocols in order to be prepared for an inspection from the Mexican authorities.

First, it is necessary to develop an Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan. This plan should aim to identify where, how and to what sources of the virus SARS-CoV-2 workers might be exposed. It is also important to identify non-occupational risk factors at home and in the community settings, including individual workers´ risk factors (i.e. older age, presence of chronic illnesses, pregnancy, etc).

Lastly, the plan must include the establishment of controls necessary to address each of the identified risks. In addition, companies should prepare and implement basic prevention measures in the workplace. From the way in which employees enter the facility, the frequency they are asked to wash their hands, their work stations and protective equipment, the prevention measures are the keystone to providing safe working conditions that allow employees to feel attended.

It is also important to develop, implement and communicate policies for workplace flexibilities and protections. Develop policies and procedures for the prompt identification and isolation of suspected cases of COVID-19.

It is important to plan alternative scenarios:

  • where will the sick individual be taken upon detection?
  • If an ambulance service is not available, does the company have a vehicle prepared?
  • How will we contact trace any contagions and what will be our isolation policy? Etcetera.

Lastly, it is important to implement workplace controls in the areas of engineering, administration, safe work practices and Personal Protective Equipment. Employees in the workplace should be reminded and guided to make healthy decisions that help to protect the entire workforce and their families.

David Antuñez

EHS Director

It is recommended to create a multi-disciplinary Operations Relaunch Committee consisting of middle management and managers. This team will define the relaunch program along with the HR & EHS teams, and will lead the crucial ongoing communication plan.

  • The relaunch program should include a scaled plan to reincorporate workers: planning shifts to avoid an influx of people, defining priority positions that must return first, and maintain flexibility programs and tools to allow those that can work from home to continue to do so.
  • In compliance with new protocols, the plan should include detailed information regarding sanitization procedures in the facility. These procedures should be published and communicated with employees at least one week prior to their return by utilizing digital platforms (broadcast, email, WhatsApp, etc), and the committee should continue to reinforce the plan, the company´s commitment to employee safety, and the disposition for an open dialogue to freely express any concerns.

Lastly, it is important to share with the highest frequency possibly (preferably daily) the tracking of cases of COVID-19 in the community and state, and how the organization is preparing for what is happening. A solid program for the relaunch of operations, in addition to leadership, order and planning, is crucial in order to transmit the message that the safety of employees is the priority of the organization.

Elisa Villarreal

Benjamin Bocanegra

The law specifically mentions two scenarios that allow the legal reduction of salaries of employees.

  • In case of the declaration of a “sanitary contingency” by the Federal Government, it is possible to send workers home and pay 1 minimum salary for up to 30 days. This was not the case during the declaration of the Federal Government for the COVID-19 crisis at the beginning of April.
  • In case of a declaration of a “sanitary emergency” by the Federal Government, the current COVID-19 case, it is possible to make a salary reduction due to an emergency condition declared by the Federal Government, as long as:
    1. All of the employees and the employer agree to the terms and conditions for such a temporary salary reduction.
    2. The resulting written agreement (collective or individual) must be safely kept at the labor center and registered in front of the Labor Court as soon as it is open due to the COVID-19 crisis.

There are other interim mechanisms such as giving vacations in advance to somehow gain time whenever the activities return to “normal”, but this does not represent real cost reduction.

It is also very important to preserve the social mandatory benefits (such as Social Security) unchanged as much as possible, due to the risk of potential audits or affecting other current benefits or an employee (such as INFONAVIT loans for a particular employee).

In the case that an employee does not accept the salary reduction, the employer may proceed to full termination of the employee, incurring all corresponding payments of severance, as marked by law.

Jorge Ortega

associate and strategic advisor

The economic and pandemic crisis area creating delays at the borders, International Trade Compliance professionals must react and take action immediately, for example:

  • Streamline processes such as prior inspections at Customs Broker warehouse
  • Review customs clearance documents prior to importation
  • Evaluate cost-effective practices such as import duty rate analysis These practices can prove helpful to support the supply chain and avoid any risk or situation with Customs authorities and other federal authorities. From the import/export and trade compliance standpoint, it is important to consider the following topics:
    • Detect in real time the areas of opportunity through a root cause analysis before they appear
    • Measure and monitor in a standardized methodology the KPI´s of the operation including parts, HTS classifications, import/export data, regulations, etc
    • Create a continuous improvement culture in Trade Compliance. Remember: risk assessment, a formal writing compliance program, training, recordkeeping and audits are the best practices to ensure compliance!

Manuel Ponce

international trade compliance director

The first step to protect your supply chain is to evaluate the health, considering the current situation as well as the future sustainability based on different scenarios.

How healthy are your supply chain partners?

  • Supply Base including capacity, 3rd tier suppliers, visibility and supplier alternatives
  • Transportation Partners including origin capacity, visibility, customs brokers and transportation partners Am I reducing risk in my supply chain with necessary adjustments and protections?
  • Demand Planning including pull/push/cancel of your customer forecast ensuring your minimum/maximum levels first
  • Safety Times with the reevaluation of ABC classifications and safety stocks
  • Ensure Inventory accuracy to avoid surprises
  • Consumables / MRO geared toward new demand including newly required PPE materials

Am I considering my supply chain blind spots?

Double-check your internal capacity considering an audit to identify any gap or weakness in inventory management, communication, errors, delays, planning parameters, lead times, etc. It is important to have visibility into every mode and stage of your supply chain.

Kurt Schmidt

consulting director

The reputation of your company matters now more than ever! Strengthening your relationship with your workforce, community and the government is the key to success.

  1. Be the best place to work for your employees. Increase the wellness of your workforce. Your people need to know that you care for them.
  2. Be a socially engaged company. Identify the needs of your community and establish programs to help the community and the environment. By helping the community you can also reinforce your relationship with the government.
  3. Communicate internally. You need to constantly communicate with your people about internal programs. You can find many tools to communicate, the key is identifying the main message that is adapted to your audience.
  4. Choose your spokesperson wisely. Identify the most reliable and charismatic person in the company and work on a script. This person will represent your company in media interviews and Government Affairs.
  5. Pay attention to your social media. It is a good image of how your people and the community perceive your company. A crisis management plan must be developed that tailors specifically to your social media campaign and audience.

Yoelle Rojas

Director of public affairs and communication

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