Microsoft has committed to paying hourly service workers the same amount, regardless of whether their hours are reduced by coronavirus (COVID-19). The offer extends to the Seattle and Northern California areas, where the company has asked many employees who work from home.
For those who don't work from home and are on an hourly contract, coronavirus can pose a significant threat. Microsoft gives the example of workers who work in the cafe, do on-site tech support, or shuttle employees around. As employees shift to working from home, their presence will naturally be less requested.
“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,” said Microsoft president Brad Smith in a blog post. “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.”
As a large business, Smith says it's Microsoft's responsibility to address COVID-19's economic impact. Though small companies won't be able to provide the same support, his is currently one of the most valuable in the world.
Unfortunately, the policy doesn't extend to those outside of Puget Sound and northern California at this time. Microsoft has data centers, tech support, and offices all over the world, including in China, Italy, and other hard-struck countries.
Smith says the company is looking at similar methods for other parts of the country and the world as a whole but wasn't ready to share the exact details of those plans quite yet.
Microsoft has already canceled several legs of its Ignite Tour, in Zurich and Hong Kong. It also dropped out the IoT Action event and GDC 2020, while Build 2020 could potentially be axed too. All of this will naturally have an impact on the company's earnings, not to mention possible delays to the Xbox Series X and other products.
Despite all this, it's admirably offering Microsoft Teams premium features for free after a spike in usage after the outbreak. The company's mission statement is about enabling the world to achieve more, and that appears to apply even during a budding pandemic.