COVID-19: working through a time of change

In this period of unprecedented change, we've got the resources you need to understand new legislation, find help for your business, run virtual meetings, and navigate the new normal.

A message from Patrick Murphy, CEO, John Hancock Retirement


The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President on March 27, 2020. This Act is the latest round of federal government support relating to the COVID-19 public health crisis and associated economic turmoil, and contains some significant retirement plan provisions. The CARES Act offers financial relief by temporarily relaxing the rules on three key provisions of qualified retirement plans. The Act permits:

Coronavirus-related distributions of up to $100,000 may be allowed in 2020 without penalty—for participants in eligible retirement plans—if they meet certain conditions. 


The relaxation of loan rules includes a temporary increase in the maximum loan amounts and a one-year extension to repayments due between March 27, 2020, and December 31, 2020.  


The 2020 RMD waiver would allow plans to suspend making required minimum distributions (RMDs) in 2020, and would apply to participants who turned age 70 1/2 in 2019 and had not yet received their 2019 distribution. 


Helpful resources for our business partners

Use these links to find help for small business owners, guidance from health authorities, and resources for retirement plan professionals.

COVID-19-related help from the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Go to the U.S. Small Business Administration website Go to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce website

Critical information from health authorities

Go to the Centers for Disease Control website Go to the World Health Organization website Use this directory of local health departments

Resources for third-party administrators from the National Institute of Pension Administrators (NIPA)

Read about COVID-19 with NIPA

Information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Go to the FEMA website Get the facts on COVID-19 See how you can help

Virtual meetings fill the social distancing gap

Like many of you, most of us are working from home, but that doesn’t mean meetings stop—we just move them online.

How to go virtual with enrollment and education

There are several virtual options for educating participants and enrolling them in their plans: live and recorded webinars, one-on-one calls, multimedia and interactive online tools.

Reach out to your relationship manager to set up and run virtual education meetings and share our best practices. We're here to help!  

Use our prepackaged market dynamics education campaign 

Retirement savers need education and guidance now more than ever. Whether you have a John Hancock plan or not, you can use our prepackaged market dynamics campaign to run education meetings, with flyers in English and Spanish.  

What we're doing and observing during this period of change

Our continued commitment to service

We’re fortunate to have a robust suite of virtual tools that allows us to continue to work effectively with each other and our business partners. Our planning, preparation, and testing mean we’re ready to meet our clients' expectations as we collectively work through the realities of a global pandemic. 


John Hancock, Boston Athletic Association, Governor Baker and Mayor Walsh: Join Us in Turning the Commonwealth Blue to Thank the Front Lines  

Participant activity

We understand retirement plan participants are nervous about their account balances. We’re reaching out to our participants with guidance on navigating the market swings and providing them with education and guidance on our websites. Our website traffic is about 30% above expectations, with similar increases in our call volumes. In spite of the increased interest, we’re only seeing 1% of callers changing their investments.

Our phone representatives are generally receiving higher-than-normal call volumes. To handle this increased volume, we recently onboarded a class of new representatives. That said, some callers may experience longer-than-usual wait times. We're trying to smooth the spikes by encouraging participants to call earlier in the day, when volumes are lighter—or to try the website first to see if they can get their answers with our personalized tools.

Help with the new normal

Working from home? Managing a team remotely? It comes with extra challenges when everyone in your household is also home. We’ve got some best practices for the new remote workplace and some ideas to keep your kids busy.

Set yourself up for success 

Managing your team remotely?

  • Managing remote workers webinar from LEADx 
  • Tips for managing remote workers from LEADx
  • How smart leaders can help their teams navigate the global COVID-19 crisis webinar from Bates Communications   


And try socializing from a distance!

Schedule a virtual coffee klatch, water cooler conversation, lunch and learn, or happy hour with your favorite video conferencing app! 

Here's how we're keeping our kids occupied while we're all home together

Cook together!

  • Stage your own episode of Chopped with whatever you have in the pantry
  • Order pre-prepped recipes and make dinner as a family
  • Have each family member pick a night to cook or to choose the meal

And make clean up more fun with a dance party set to the kids' favorite music.  

Fun ways to reach out to the grandparents

  • Have the grandparents read bedtime stories on Facetime or a video call
  • Invite remote family members to play Words with Friends, Quiz Up, Fleet Battle, or any of your other favorite game apps
  • Host a trivia or Pictionary night with the cousins on your favorite video conferencing platform 


More digital resources for kids and familes

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