<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The April jobs report released Friday painted a grim picture of the damage the novel coronavirus has wrought on America’s workers, with 20.5 million jobs lost, and the unemployment rate spiking to 14.7%. In these unprecedented times, both the employed and the unemployed can find themselves in a difficult situation when it comes to negotiating.” data-reactid=”16″>The April jobs report released Friday painted a grim picture of the damage the novel coronavirus has wrought on America’s workers, with 20.5 million jobs lost, and the unemployment rate spiking to 14.7%. In these unprecedented times, both the employed and the unemployed can find themselves in a difficult situation when it comes to negotiating.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="But despite the financial implications that the virus has on businesses, employees can still negotiate with their employers for better pay or benefits, Columbia University law professor and “Ask for More” author Alexandra Carter told Yahoo Finance’s “The First Trade” this week.” data-reactid=”17″>But despite the financial implications that the virus has on businesses, employees can still negotiate with their employers for better pay or benefits, Columbia University law professor and “Ask for More” author Alexandra Carter told Yahoo Finance’s “The First Trade” this week.

“On the one hand, times are very difficult for a lot of companies. On the other hand, it’s never been more important to spend each dollar wisely. And what I’m counseling people to do is to really make the argument about how they would be the wisest investment … at this particular moment,” she said. This includes “promoting that you could save cash flow, or help promote earnings in the long run,” she said.

Carter added, “There’s always a way to reframe one’s experience to gain additional leverage in the negotiation process.”

Employees can still negotiate for raises or other benefits when they're working remotely. Image: GettyEmployees can still negotiate for raises or other benefits when they're working remotely. Image: Getty
Employees can still negotiate for raises or other benefits when they’re working remotely. Image: Getty

Carter lays out five key points to keep in mind when negotiating:

  • Negotiate clear terms with your employer if you’ve been furloughed

  • Negotiate any benefits you can keep and a date for your return to work

  • Negotiate your salary for any new job you’re seeking so you get what you’re worth despite crisis-challenged budgets

  • Stand up for yourself and don’t settle for less

  • Take time to negotiate with yourself to learn what your next steps or career should be.

One of the most crucial factors, according to Carter, is timing. If you’re gunning for a raise during a an economic downturn, it’s important to be able to justify your request. “You want to pick a moment of maximum leverage,” she said. “Pick a moment when your accomplishments are visible, when you’ve just reached a milestone.”

The act of negotiating is further complicated by the current work-from-home setup for many U.S. workers, which makes it impossible for employees to knock on their bosses’ doors and talk in person. In this case, Carter suggests asking your boss to video chat, not call, when you’re planning to discuss these matters.

“Try to meet on a virtual platform where people can see your face. The fact is that in negotiation, the more we can see, the more we trust and it really helps to not do it over the phone,” she said.

And if a raise is simply not possible at this time, employees can negotiate other benefits. This includes what the company can do for the employee after the virus is over, health benefits, and vacation days. You and your company can “come together to produce value,” Carter says.

In the meantime, she suggests that employees keep a log of everything they’re doing, especially if their workload has increased as others have been let go — and to remain “visible” with their managers during a time when so many people are working from home.

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