The Novel Coronavirus outbreak has taken the world by storm and as countries scramble to fight the virus, the tech giants are fighting a totally different battle. Yesterday, Microsoft instructed all its employees to not come to offices unless absolutely necessary. The company has recommended several steps to the employees who have to come to the office because they can’t work from home.
As such, the decision had an adverse effect on those who work on hourly wages at Microsoft. Employees such as vendors, cafe workers, shuttle drivers will have their work reduced as more people start working from home. Seeing this, Microsoft has taken a bold decision as the company announced that it will not be cutting their pay. Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote a blog post identifying the need to help those who depend on hourly wages. In the blog post, he said that Microsoft workers in the Puget Sound region and Northern California will be getting regular pays even if their work hours are reduced. He said that Microsoft is exploring “how best to move forward in a similar way in other parts of the country and the world that are impacted by COVID-19.”
We recognize the hardship that lost work can mean for hourly employees. As a result, we’ve decided that Microsoft will continue to pay all our vendor hourly service providers their regular pay during this period of reduced service needs. This is independent of whether their full services are needed. This will ensure that, in Puget Sound for example, the 4,500 hourly employees who work in our facilities will continue to receive their regular wages even if their work hours are reduced.
While the work to protect public health needs to speed up, the economy can’t afford to slow down. We’re committed as a company to making public health our first priority and doing what we can to address the economic and societal impact of COVID-19. We appreciate that what’s affordable for a large employer may not be affordable for a small business, but we believe that large employers who can afford to take this type of step should consider doing so.
We’re committed to taking additional constructive steps to support the public during this challenging time.
– Brad Smith
Microsoft is among several tech companies like Amazon, Google, and Lyft who have asked their employees to work from home until the outbreak is contained. The work from home decision in China has helped Microsoft as the company reported a 500% increase in Microsoft Teams usage since the outbreak first began.
The Novel Coronavirus outbreak has also forced companies to cancel their events. Last month, GSMA announced its decision to cancel MWC 2020 after most of the big players dropped out. This was then followed by Facebook cancelling F8 summit, Microsoft cancelling Ignite Tour in several countries and the cancellation of GDC 2020. Facebook has also cancelled its Global Marketing Summit which was followed by Oppo and Xiaomi cancelling their respective events. Earlier this week, Microsoft cancelled the MVP Global Summit while Adobe and Google cancelled their respective events.