Microsoft on Thursday committed to paying normal hourly wages to non-employees providing services to Microsoft workers, like bus drivers and cafeteria workers, who might otherwise receive less pay while many of the company's employees spend the next few weeks working from home to avoid exposure to the coronavirus.
The announcement highlights one of many factors that go into the equation of how the virus will affect businesses, particularly those that are keeping employees away from their offices.
On Wednesday Microsoft said employees in Washington's Puget Sound — the home of its headquarters — and California's Bay Area who can work from home should do so through March 25. Other companies have issued similar directives; on Wednesday San Francisco-based Salesforce encouraged all of its employees in the Washington cities of Seattle, Kirkland and Bellevue to work from home in March.
"We recognize the hardship that lost work can mean for hourly employees," Brad Smith, Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, wrote in a blog post on Thursday. "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."
Microsoft said last week that it didn't expect to reach its quarterly revenue target for the business segment that includes Windows because of coronavirus impact.
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