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Essential employees keep the show going

Most of us don’t realise that being able to complain about sitting at home is a privilege because of the social contexts that we come from. An option of work from home is something that not everyone’s job allows them to do. The category of workers termed as “essential employees” are those whose services are indispensable even in the times of a pandemic. It is these employees who keep all organisations working smoothly, such that there would be no difficulty when these start functioning like they used to.


Saint Louis University listed out its “essential employees” based on whether the employee requires to be on campus to meet the educational and healthcare necessities. Public safety, maintenance, custodial, and residential life employees are some of the categories other than healthcare that the employees have been called to service for. The list includes about 450 employees. While the University is left with no option but to continue availing their services, maximum measures are being undertaken to ensure their safety and well-being.


The employees work on a semi-regular basis but are getting paid in their full salaries.  Social distancing measures are being followed as well. Personal protective equipment (PPE) are given to the roles that necessitate its requirement. In case an employee suspects himself or herself of having contracted the virus, the University is also providing with on-campus facilities to quarantine themselves. Mickey Luna, the Vice President of Human Resources, says that there is expected to be minimum or no contact of “essential employees” with people who have been tested positive for the virus with the few exceptions of individuals working in the healthcare department.


As far as the reopening of the University is concerned, Luna has no definite answers. For the time being, the University remains indebted to the “essential employees” who make it possible for the University to open when it can. “First, let me say that we are deeply grateful to employees who are reporting to work each day, performing essential tasks to meet SLU’s essential needs.”, said Luna.


N Malavika Mohan