Big Tech companies to pay hourly workers affected by coronavirus

Google, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon and Apple will continue to pay hourly workers who can’t do their jobs remotely even as big technology companies urge their full-time staff to work from home in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The companies have large presences in the San Francisco Bay Area, where more than 20 cases of the respiratory disease have been reported. Microsoft, based in the Seattle area, another center of the disease in the US, made a similar decision on Thursday as it encouraged full-time staff to work from home. 

Like many companies, tech firms provide employees with perks, such as cafes, shuttle buses and other services. Staffing needs for those jobs, which can’t be done remotely, are often satisfied by part-time workers or through agencies. Amazon, based in Seattle, said it would also subsidize the rents of small businesses that operate inside its owned buildings.

“We recognize the hardship that lost work can mean for hourly employees,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a blog post. “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.”

Other companies made similar statements in announcing their policies. Axios earlier reported the companies’ policies.

COVID-19 was discovered in the Wuhan region of China’s Hubei province late last year and produces symptoms similar to those of pneumonia. Chinese scientists linked the disease to a family of viruses that includes SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome). The disease has killed 3,460 people, and more than 101,000 people have been infected in more than 60 countries.

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