Following Microsoft's lead from late last night, some the biggest technology companies in the U.S. have agreed to pay wages for hourly employees impacted by the ongoing corporate response to the coronavirus outbreak.
It's the right thing for companies to do, from both a health and safety perspective, and to ensure that the hourly workers who are most impacted by work stoppages and shortages are not adversely affected by events that are beyond their control.
As we reported earlier today, Facebook committed to pay its "contingent" workers. And according to a report in Axios, Amazon, Google and Twitter are joining them. We've reached out to Apple but have yet to receive a comment.
In a statement to Axios, Amazon made the same commitment for its employees.
“We will continue to pay all hourly employees that support our campus in Seattle and Bellevue – from food service, to security guards to janitorial staff – during the time our employees are asked to work from home," the company said in a statement. "In addition, we will subsidize one month of rent for the local small businesses that operate inside our owned buildings to help support them during this period.”
Google and Twitter have reportedly made the same commitments.
Tech companies have taken a lead on the issue and received praise from labor organizations for the stance. But organizers in the Bay Area and beyond are encouraging companies to cushion the blow hourly workers will face from lost wages due to office closures.
— SiliconValleyRising (@SVRising) March 6, 2020
The issue has even caught the attention of the Democratic Senator Mark Warner from Virginia, who is pressuring gig economy companies Uber, Lyft, Postmates and DoorDash to provide compensation for workers impacted by the coronavirus.
“I strongly urge that you attempt to address the potential financial hardship for your workers if they are sick or have to self-quarantine during this time,” Warner wrote. “In order to limit the spread of COVID-19, it is critical that platform companies lead by example by committing that economic uncertainty will not be deterrents to their workers following public health guidance during the response.”