The coronavirus outbreak, recently declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, has caused thousands of fatalities and worldwide economic disruption. The COVID-19 disease has also prompted several multinational corporations to change their staffing policies to halt the spread of the illness.
Amazon has also made changes to its employment policies to provide more support for its workforce.
Google and Twitter Tell Workers to Stay Home
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, recommended its employees in Africa, Europe, North America, and the Middle East work from home. On March 10, the conglomerate asked its staffers based in North America to work remotely until April 12. The following day, the Silicon Valley giant advised the rest of its global staff to stay home until otherwise notified.
The corporation said it made a policy change to protect Googlers from the pandemic. According to CNN, Alphabet’s global full-time workforce is comprised of more than 120,000 people as of 2019. Earlier this month, The Burn-In reported Google asked its Seattle based staffers to work from home because of coronavirus concerns.
Alphabet is the only multinational technology firm to shift its employees out of their offices.
On Wednesday, social network Twitter issued a mandate requiring its 4,900 employees to begin working from home. In a blog post, the company explained the move as “unprecedented,” but necessary under the circumstances. The San Francisco based corporation also said it would continue to pay contractors and staffers who can’t work remotely.
Microsoft and Facebook asked employees in select regions to work from home last week.
Amazon’s COVID-19 Response
Amazon joined its fellow Big Tech companies in making employee policy changes to address the coronavirus outbreak. On March 11, the e-commerce corporation announced it would offer sick leave to its hourly workers who have been diagnosed with and quarantined because of COVID-19.
Beth Galetti, the firm’s head of human resources, said affected workers would be eligible for two weeks of paid leave. The conglomerate previously offered its corporate employees the choice to work from home. However, logistics workers could only take unpaid sick time without being penalized.
Amazon is also in the process of establishing a hardship relief fund for employees impacted by the pandemic. The corporation pledged to dedicate $25 million to help the staffers and independent contractors that deliver its packages. The company will establish a website where affected logistics workers can apply for disbursements maxing out at $5,000.
The e-commerce company has also addressed the fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak on its platform. In late February, Amazon purged over one million items off its platform for falsely claiming to protect against or cure the disease. The firm has also cracked down on third-party sellers that have raised prices exorbitantly on antiviral masks and respirators.
With the United States government recently restricting travel into America from Europe, the coronavirus pandemic is still not contained. But it is reassuring that the technology sector is taking decisive steps to support its staffers in this moment of global adversity.