Over the last few weeks, we’ve updated this information as often as possible. In an effort to make it easy to find information, we reorganized the information below into a few sections: 1-Frequently asked questions and answers 2-CEO communications 3-Media contacts and stories. Thanks.
Reminder, employees with specific questions about work situations, please contact your supervisor, HR at your facility and/or your facility leaders. They are in the best position to have specific, updated information for you. If you have any concerns you want to share, please contact our Guideline at 1-800-216-8007
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:
We have announced temporary changes to some of our pay practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, waived costs for some wellbeing benefits, and continue to share information and resources to help employees manage this uncertain time. In addition, we’ve made the following changes:
Telemedicine: healthcare from your home
We have updated our medical plan to cover telemedicine visits with your personal doctor that include video and audio. These visits will be subject to deductible and co-insurance just like a regular office visit. You can use this new feature for any healthcare concern.
Through June 14, telemedicine resources through LiveHealth Online are available at no cost to medical plan members. LiveHealth Online includes licensed providers for physical, mental and emotional health concerns. Visit LiveHealthOnline.com or call 888-548-3432.
You continue to have access to the Anthem NurseLine. This free service to medical plan members is available 24 hours a day by calling 800-700-9184.
Pharmacy benefit changes
CVS will now deliver prescriptions from your local pharmacy to your home at no additional cost. In addition, we have worked with CVS to relax refill restrictions for 30-day prescriptions. Keep in mind that CVS mail order is always available, and it is a less expensive option. For maintenance medication, ask your provider to submit new prescriptions (or switch existing ones) to mail order with a 90-day supply. If you have any questions, call CVS using the number on the back of your medical plan ID card or on your pharmacy ID card. You can also access CVS through Engage.
Updates to spending accounts
The definition of eligible expenses for Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Healthcare Flexible Spending Accounts (HC FSA) now includes over-the-counter medical supplies and menstrual supplies. Visit healthaccounts.bankofamerica.com and click Learn > HSA Resources > Using your HSA for an updated list of eligible expenses. This list also applies to HC FSA.
If you’re enrolled in either of these accounts, remember:
- You can change your HSA contribution at any time by visiting myLifeChoices.com.
- You cannot change your HC FSA contribution except during Open Enrollment or if you have a qualifying life event.
- HC FSA funds are ‘use it or lose it.’ You will forfeit unused funds if you do not spend them on eligible expenses incurred before December 31 each year.
- Bank of America administers HSA accounts. Surgency administers HC FSA accounts.
Emotional/Mental Health Support
We encourage you not to ignore the stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic, including the effects it may have on your relationships or your ability to contribute to the essential products and services we provide globally.
Licensed SupportLinc counselors are available 24 hours a day. You and all members of your family have access to SupportLinc resources regardless of medical plan enrollment. Call 888-901-1327 or visit the SupportLinc coronavirus resource page at eaptoolkit.com/coronavirus.
LiveHealth Online has licensed psychologists and psychiatrists that are available to medical plan members through June 14 at no cost. Visit LiveHealthOnline.com or call 888-548-3432.
We continue to follow CDC guidelines for cleaning practices and are limiting visitors at our operations. We have announced temporary changes to some of our pay practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including paid leave during 14 consecutive days for eligible employees for days they were scheduled but unable to work due to this pandemic and we are offering 5 days of intermittent paid time off if you are forced to miss work to care for your children due to school closures because of COVID-19.
Until further notice, Koch company medical plans will cover all costs related to testing and treatment of COVID-19.
Facilities will be working to procure and provide appropriate face coverings for employees. Until those have arrived, employees may provide their own face covering if it meets the criteria of an acceptable face covering. Employees may continue to bring their own after the site is able to provide them, also. Please note that a face covering does not replace any PPE requirements that your operations may have, and you may be asked to take off your face covering if it is inconsistent with the site’s PPE requirements.
At present time, we have some cases where an employee or contractor has tested positive for COVID-19 and had worked onsite in recent days. In these instances, we followed the CDC and local health authorities’ recommendations to identify who had close contact with these people, notified those individuals and asked them to self-quarantine, and took the recommended steps to clean and disinfect the areas where the individual worked.
Additionally, we are taking preventive measures to minimize the risks inside our work locations, including having employees; whose jobs can be performed remotely to work offsite to reduce risks for those who must perform their work; on-site; restricting visitors and vendors inside the facility; adjusting production and work schedules as possible and putting in place social distancing requirements inside work locations; and adding hand sanitizer stations and enhanced daily cleaning inside facilities.
There have been other cases in which employees or contractors indicated they had contact with someone who tested positive or was suspected as positive. In these circumstances, the employees were asked to self-quarantine and monitor their own health for the CDC recommended 14-days.
We evaluate the facts of every positive case to ensure we are applying the guidance of the CDC and other public health authorities to maintain the safety and wellbeing of all employees.
In April, we learned that one of our colleagues at our operations in Madison, Ga., passed away from complications related to a diagnosed case of COVID-19.
At the end of March, we learned that one of our colleagues at our operations in Port Hudson, La., passed away from complications related to a diagnosed case of COVID-19. This employee had been out of the facility since November for a personal medical issue.
Our thoughts are with our colleague’s families at this difficult time. Our priority is the safety and wellbeing of all employees, and we are supporting our employee’s family and our coworkers.
We are not offering hazard pay at this time. We’d recommend speaking with your direct supervisor or the HR rep at your facility to figure out the best plan of action for your situation. We have announced temporary changes to some of our pay practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including paid leave during 14 consecutive days for eligible employees for days they were scheduled but unable to work due to this pandemic and we are offering 5 days of intermittent paid time off if you are forced to miss work to care for your children due to school closures because of COVID-19. These changes are being made to emphasize the importance we place on the safety and wellbeing of our employees, their families and our communities. We hope these changes will help reduce the threat of spread of illness in our workplaces and communities.
The health and safety, of all our employees is our top priority. Across many states, we have seen local and state governments issue shelter in place orders that have affected our facilities by designating them as essential or non-essential businesses (or some other language) based on what the site manufactures. We believe many of our manufacturing facilities make products that our country needs, and we will continue operating. In some cases where deemed non-essential, we have suspended operations. If a particular facility is deemed to be essential and continues operating, we ask our employees to continue working per normal guidelines. Our commitment, as always, is to comply with all laws and regulations.
As a company, we are responding to this in real-time and we will continue to react and adapt to updates and share knowledge as we receive it. If such decisions are made in the states where we operate, we will work as quickly as possible to notify employees. We encourage you to raise any questions directly to your supervisor or local HR.
All of our facilities produce products and provide infrastructure that have been designated as essential to society, and we feel it’s important to continue operating to meet society’s demand for them during this crisis and to keep our employees working and earning for the benefit of their own families.
We continue operating with a focus first and foremost on the health and safety of employees, their families and communities. And we would not do anything to jeopardize their safety and health. We follow or go above the CDC standards in our facilities and have in place additional preventive measures to help keep employees safe.
While we believe we must continue working together to make products needed for our customers and society during this pandemic, we continue to monitor federal, state and local guidance as they evolve and adjust accordingly.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Georgia-Pacific has closely monitored and responded to guidance issued from federal, state and local governments and their agencies (like the CDC). We have and continue to balance health and safety precautions while operating businesses that are essential. As the US begins to think about restarting our economy, please know that GP will continue to listen and engage at the federal, state and local levels. Our goal is to assess guidance at various levels, take appropriate action and communicate quickly and directly with employees, customers, consumers and communities where we operate.
We want to assure consumers that our suggested retail prices for our products have not changed since we became aware of COVID-19 or as a result of the related increased demand. We know many people are worried about not being able to find our products and understand how stressful that is. We are shipping out product as fast as we can make it.
Unfortunately, there are some people out there who see this as an opportunity to take advantage of others. This type of behavior goes against our market-based guiding principles, especially those surrounding compliance and integrity. We have been in touch with many third-party platforms on which our products are advertised in an effort to remove items where it appears 3rd party sellers may be engaged price gouging. We would also encourage consumers to report any price gouging activity to their respective state’s Attorney General.
Our brave employees leave their homes across North America every day to make essential products you need and use, especially Angel Soft® and Quilted Northern toilet paper and Brawny® and Sparkle® paper towels. Recently, consumers have pointed out bad actors who are imitating our brands in the marketplace and/or misrepresenting themselves as authorized sellers of our brands for the purposes of stealing your information and price-gouging you.
Not to be cheeky, but we don’t roll with that type of behavior – and neither should you. We’re a little down in the dumps that some would try to take advantage of a crappy situation. Our employees are pooped from working around the clock to make and ship toilet paper as fast as we can and we need your help to wipe out these bad actors.
We want our consumers to be safe and healthy, and we understand that for many people the best option to purchase our products right now is online. Before you purchase what appear to be our products from any online source, help protect yourself from fraud by asking these questions.
- Is this website/retailer/seller one I have purchased from before?
- If not, does the website appear trustworthy?
- If purchasing from a site like Amazon, is the product being sold by Amazon directly or by a third-party seller?
- Does the price on this product reflect the typical price I would expect to be charged prior to the pandemic?
- Does a quick online search reveal anything suspicious about this retailer?
- Look closely at the brand name/packaging – does it match the actual brand name I associate this product with?
Please know that our supply chain is strong and our 25,000 manufacturing employees continue working for you. We want you to buy and purchase our products and we want to help you protect yourself from fraud. If you see companies impersonating our brands please contact us at 1-877-583-3142. If you suspect price gouging, please contact your state’s attorney general.
While the science continues to develop concerning the newly emerged COVID-19 and how it spreads, there is currently no evidence to support transmission from products or packaging. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low, and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled and exposed to different conditions and temperatures is also low.
All of our facilities have plans in place (through guidance from local, state and national health agencies) to manage this appropriately and protect the health of our team. We are following those plans to manage this situation. The safety of our employees is our highest priority and we will continue to keep them frequently updated throughout this situation.
While the timing is uncertain due to many variables in the supply chain process, our primary focus is to do all we can to meet consumer demand. We’re quickly responding by expediting product that optimizes our existing inventory, increasing production, and utilizing a managed distribution process to smartly manage through this unusual period. Our tissue manufacturing facilities are operating 24/7 and our employees are doing all they can to serve our customers and meet consumers’ needs during this situation.
While we do have an online store, our direct-to-consumer sites are experiencing similar demand that we see at retail stores. For the time being, we have decided to prioritize our retail partners (both in-store and online), as this is the fastest way to get rolls into consumer’s hands.
Based on IRI panel data, along with the US Census, the average U.S. household (2.6 people) uses 409 equivalized regular rolls per year. Using our own calculations, staying at home 24-7 would result in 40% increase vs. average daily usage. Therefore, to last approximately 2 weeks, a 2-person household would need 9 double rolls, or 5 mega rolls. A 4-person household would need 17 double rolls, or 9 mega rolls to last approximately 2 weeks.
Both Angel Soft and Quilted Northern are manufactured in North America, primarily the United States.
GP has a long-standing relationship with disaster relief agency Convoy of Hope and prior to this spike in demand, they’d received multiple shipments of our products to use in their response to natural disasters/crises. In many cases, we contribute products locally to non-profit organizations and we continue to work to help those organizations meet their needs.
While Convoy of Hope is not a medical response organization, they often assist in situations where the health and well-being of others is in jeopardy and they’ve committed to provide emergency food, water and supplies like toilet paper and paper towels from Georgia-Pacific to those hit especially hard by COVID-19 here in the United States. Convoy of Hope is uniquely set-up to provide immediate assistance to others and our ongoing work with them will ensure that our donated products are distributed correctly and get into the hands of those most impacted.
Our Georgia-Pacific Foundation continues to work with hundreds of organizations who provide services to communities and people in need at the national, regional, state and local levels. From donating leftover masks and hand sanitizer to local hospitals to providing plates and napkins to first responders, we continue to support the needs of others in cash and product donations.
May 11: Our CEO, Christian Fischer, sent a video to employees. You can watch that message here.
April 20: Our CEO, Christian Fischer, sent a video to employees. You can watch that message here.
April 6: Our CEO, Christian Fischer, sent a video to employees. You can watch that message here.
March 30: Our CEO, Christian Fischer, sent a video to employees. You can watch that message here.
March 25: Our CEO, Christian Fischer, sent a video to employees. You can watch that message here.
Links to Key Media Coverage:
CBS Minnesota: minnesota.cbslocal.com
Associated Press: abcnews.go.com
USA Today: azcentral.com
TP Supply: bringmethenews.com
Today Show:: Twitter.com
Alabama Business: al.com
Palatka Daily News: palatkadailynews.com
Yahoo News: yahoo.com
Fox 5 Atlanta News: fox5atlanta.com
Fox 30 Jacksonville News: actionnewsjax.com
WTOC 11 Savannah: wtoc.com
For additional information, visit our industry partner pages at:
American Forest & Paper Association: https://afandpa.org/Covid-19