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2024 Greater Rochester Chamber Employer Eclipse Preparation Survey – Highlights

March 26, 2024

Many employers in the Greater Rochester area are in the process of preparing for a once in a lifetime event and are curious what other employers are planning. To capture helpful information on this topic, Greater Rochester Chamber conducted a brief survey last week of Human Resource contacts at member companies in the Corporate and Partner membership tiers. We focused on that group given the larger employee populations they typically represent.

A total of 136 members responded to the brief chamber survey on this topic representing a wide variety of industry and size categories. When businesses were asked about whether they will close for all or part of the work day or remain open, 62% of participants responded that they plan to remain open, or are considering whether to remain open. Of that group, 77% are planning or considering a gathering - 22% are planning a gathering with food/snacks and 14% are simply gathering with employees to view the eclipse. 21% are planning for 'business as usual'.

For the 41% of respondents that plan to close, or are considering closing, 86% plan to pay employees for the hours they will be closed.

Other questions focused on steps being taken to ensure employees are able to arrive for later shifts on time due to anticipated traffic, such as adjusting work days that week, shifting start times that day, etc. In addition, employers are considering ways to encourage employees to show up vs. call in, including briefly stopping operations and/or scheduling brief breaks during the progression and/or totality to allow employees the opportunity to take part in the event while still need the needs of clients/customers/patients.

One of the questions we’ve received most about the eclipse is whether companies are purchasing eclipse glasses for employees and yes, 68% have or will be doing so, regardless of whether the business will be open or closed.

For those having eclipse gatherings with employees, some of the creative food items and/or snack bags employers will be providing include such items as Sun Chips, Moon Pies, half moon cookies, Eclipse gum, Sunny D, dark chocolate, etc. as well as some employers who are grilling food while others are providing ice cream.

One employer received a word of caution from their insurance broker that eye injuries during work hours from looking at the sun could be considered work-related. To help minimize potential eye issues, employers should be sure employees understand proper viewing protocol and risks associated with not wearing proper eyewear when viewing the eclipse, whether at work or not. More information on proper viewing and more can be found on the Monroe County eclipse web page. Members with questions regarding the survey results can contact Kathy Richmond, Cindy Miller, or Jennifer Suppe' (Jen is on vacation 3/27-4/3) in the HR Services department.


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