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MiddleGround Capital to pay leave for covid-19-positive employees until cleared

MiddleGround, which launched in 2018, joins Leonard Green & Partners as another firm setting up assistance for portfolio company employees who are adversely affected by the coronavirus outbreak. 

MiddleGround Capital has pledged to pay for any of its around 3,000 portfolio company employees who test positive for the flu or covid-19 until they are cleared of the infection, John Stewart, one of the firm’s co-founders, told Buyouts

MiddleGround, which launched in 2018, joins Leonard Green & Partners as another firm setting up assistance for portfolio company employees who are adversely affected by the coronavirus outbreak. 

Pay through treatment periods for flu or covid-19 infections would be independent of sick leave. “No sick leave necessary. Any employee who tests positive for the Flu or covid-19 will be paid while they are off and until cleared by a doctor,” Stewart said. “It costs the average middle market company $2,600 to pay a worker that tests positive for covid-19 and give them time to recover.” 

The firm also had each of its portfolio companies reach out to healthcare facilities to identify procedures for employees with suspected infections. Each company will pay for testing for those employees, Stewart said. 

MiddleGround’s five portfolio companies so far have had no employee testing positive for covid-19, though one employee did come down with the flu, Stewart said. 

“It is hard enough to make ends meet on $15/hour or less, let alone being laid off and collecting unemployment,” Stewart said. “We value our employees more than that. The employees are the company. I feel very strongly about this since I started my career as an hourly employee.” Stewart started his career at Toyota, where he worked the second shift installing bumpers on the Toyota Camry before moving up the ranks, eventually running the company’s vehicle assembly division in Europe.

Stewart formed MiddleGround alongside Partners Lauren Mulholland and Scot Duncan. All three worked at Monomoy Capital prior to forming MiddleGround. The firm closed its debut fund on $459.5 million in 2019.

Leonard Green’s partners committed this week to forming a $10 million employee-assistance fund for portfolio company workers who are impacted by the covid-19 pandemic, Buyouts reported.

Action Item: Check out MiddleGround’s Form ADV here: https://bit.ly/3a02NSF