Microsoft on Thursday said it would continue to pay service workers who are paid hourly in the Seattle area and northern California during the coronavirus outbreak, regardless if conditions mean they can’t come into the office.
“We recognize the hardship that lost work can mean for hourly employees,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a blog post announcing the policy. 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.”
Generally speaking, hourly service workers might include custodial staff, kitchen staff, or shuttle drivers, all of whom Microsoft relies upon to keep its headquarters and offices running. Generally speaking, Microsoft contracts these services out to local providers in each area, rather than employ them directly.
“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,” Smith wrote.
King County, home to Microsoft’s headquarters, has been called the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. The county has 51 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus, and 10 related deaths.
Microsoft on Wednesday also asked employees in the Seattle area and San Francisco Bay Area “who are in a job that can be done from home” to work remotely until March 25 after King County advised local employees to allow remote work.
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