Houston-based private equity firm ZT Corporate will offer and pay for Covid-19 testing for all of its 1,500 employees, the company announced April 20.
That includes employees in Houston, southeast Texas, New York City, Arizona, Atlanta and Fort Walton Beach, Florida, according to a statement. ZT Corporate has more than 1,100 employees based in the Houston region.
Taseer Badar, chairman and CEO of ZT Corporate, told the Houston Business Journal that in order to safely reopen businesses and keep workers safe, employers need to step up and pay to test for Covid-19.
“I think the private sector (businesses) with 500 or more employees need to step
up and take the burden off the government,” Badar said. “Let the government handle the employer with 500 or less, shorten those lines and get everyone tested.”
Badar said that employer-based health insurance should cover portions of the testing costs for other companies considering testing their employees. If private health insurance did not cover the testing, Badar said that the cost ZT Corporate would pay in order to test all 1,500 of its employees would be in the six-figure range.
ZT Corporate employees will have the option to receive an FDA-approved swab test for Covid-19. The tests will be offered through an independent, third-party health care provider starting April 20. Badar said that he hopes to test all of ZT Corporate’s employees by April 30.
ZT Corporate owns subsidiaries including Altus Healthcare System, Neighbors Health, ZT Motors, ZT Wealth Advisory and more.
“I wanted to make a customer who walks into a Chevy, Toyota or Mercedes store feel like we’re responsible, that we’ve taken care of our employees and that they can feel comfortable walking in,” Badar said. “And I want my employees to feel that way.”
Badar made the official announcement with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner at a press conference the afternoon of April 20.
“Houston is no stranger to coming together to come back. ZT Corporate’s efforts to pay for and offer this important testing to its employees is emblematic of what needs to be done and speaks to their innovative entrepreneurial giving spirit,” Turner said in a statement. “Our city is strong and resilient, and if other CEOs and corporations can bring this same kind of proactive leadership, Houston can move forward in a way that both protects our health and moves our economy ahead.”