NYC business leader says return to work post-COVID will be 'slow'

Forcing workers to return to the office right now is ‘off the table’ without federal liability insurance

Partnership for New York City CEO Kathryn Wylde says forcing employees to return to work is unlikely without federal insurance to protect businesses.

Kathryn Wylde, Partnership For NYC President & CEO said returning to work after the coronavirus pandemic will be “slow” as many businesses in New York plan to keep their staff in at least a hybrid schedule through September.

During an appearance with “Mornings with Maria,” Wylde said that the prospect of employers forcing workers back to the office is “off the table,” as vaccines continue to roll out across the country and businesses gauge their ability to function with remote staff.

“Employers are very reticent to demand their employees come back to the office,” Wylde said. “Our survey found that just over 20% of employers were going to insist that people come back to the office and more than half of workers are expected to continue working remotely.”

Wylde said that “big spender” industries such as the financial, media, and technology sectors have been able to adapt to the remote work climate. However, small businesses in NYC such as restaurants and retailers that depend on foot traffic would be unlikely to see numbers return to pre-pandemic conditions “anytime soon.”


The business leader added that many of these businesses will continue to struggle with liability issues, which impedes their ability for full capacity customers and employees unless legislation is passed in Washington to provide federal insurance to protect them.

Wylde added that lawmakers should consider a pandemic risk insurance initiative, similar to the terrorist risk insurance after 9/11, in order to help businesses fight off potential litigation as workers return to businesses throughout the year.

Only half of workers are expected to return to Big Apple offices by September 2021, according to a survey of major employers by the Partnership for New York City.


The survey said about 66% of companies would embrace a hybrid of remote work and office days; 9% wouldn’t require office visits, and 4% said conditions would be dependent on the job requirements

Only 22% of bosses will demand workers come back to the office full-time, the survey showed.

FOX Business' Frank Miles contributed to this report. 

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