The TIME’S UP Guide to Equity and Inclusion During COVID-19 Recovery

Equity, Public Policy

Washington, D.C. – In 2020, the TIME’S UP Foundation released the first and second editions of The TIME’S UP Guide to Equity and Inclusion, which urged leaders to equalize their workforce in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and provided guidance on how to build an anti-racist workplace in response to the racial reckoning that occurred across the globe. Today, the third edition of the guide was released, which offers strategies for leaders to prioritize diversity and inclusion while navigating an evolving COVID-19 recovery. 

As the COVID-19 landscape continues to shift, creating an equitable new normal must be top-of-mind. For many women in the workforce, especially BIPOC women, a return to 2019 conditions simply won’t cut it — for some, a return to the workplace could mean a return to a work environment that is not physically, psychologically, or emotionally safe. 

“For far too long our workplaces have been built on inequitable, discriminatory systems—systems that have left women, BIPOC workers, people with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ communities, and many others unsafe and unfairly treated. Now, as we rebuild and reimagine workplaces amidst a moment of worker power, it’s critical we intentionally create workplaces where everyone can thrive.

We are excited to be able to offer concrete, practical recommendations for enacting change and look forward to working with businesses to invest in a new, equitable future,” stated Monifa Bandele, Interim President and CEO of TIME’S UP. 

Many  workers have endured long hours and unsafe work conditions in exchange for low wages—even during the current pandemic. In response, millions of workers are now reevaluating their relationship with work, in what has been dubbed the “The Great Resignation.” This month also marks an era of unprecedented mass strikes with more than 100,000 workers green-lighting work stoppages throughout the country. Enacting policies to build more equitable workplaces is more important now than ever — doing so can help build safe and healthy economies, communities, and families. 

Key Takeaways Include:

  • Ensure that COVID-19 safety measures do not unintentionally roll back work culture or exclude women, people of color, LGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, older workers, people with caregiving responsibilities, and other vulnerable employees from career advancement.
  • Seize on pauses in reopening to create more inclusive workspaces – nearly empty workplaces provide opportunities to make renovations that will impact employee satisfaction and retention, such as accommodations to enhance accessibility for employee who are disabled, converting gendered bathrooms into inclusive spaces, or designating private spaces for praying or lactating.
  • Individual workplace experiences, needs, and expectations may differ substantially by race, ethnicity, gender, age, ability, and seniority. Listen to the unique needs of all employees and create new systems and programs that will benefit everyone, such as on-site child care, flexible schedules, paid leave, and employee assistance programs.
  • Continuously track the ways the pandemic is affecting staff and measure the impact that layoff, hiring, and return-to-work decisions are having on women and people of color.
  • Reconsider who is in the room when critical business decisions are made and evaluate how to include diverse voices in all company decisions to make sure all perspectives are being heard not just those at the top.


TIME’S UP Foundation

The TIME’S UP™ Foundation insists upon safe, fair, and dignified work for all by changing culture, companies, and laws. We enable more people to seek justice through the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund™. We pioneer innovative research driving toward solutions to address systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace through the TIME’S UP Impact Lab. And we reshape key industries from within so they serve as a model for all industries. The TIME’S UP Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.