The tech giant announced in an internal memo that employees who must now work remotely will benefit from a $1,000 bonus.
The coronavirus epidemic has forced several businesses to shut down as federal and state governments attempt to contain the illness. This means thousands of employees have been left wondering about how they will get through the next few weeks without a steady paycheck. In order to combat and offset the effects of this economic slowdown, tech giant Facebook has offered all of its 45,000 employees a bonus of $1,000, CNN reports. As the government debates offering the same to all citizens of the United States, we are finally bearing witness to why a universal basic income could be necessary in the near future.
Facebook gave employees a $1,000 bonus to help deal with the coronavirus crisis — but left out its tens of thousands of full-time contractors. https://t.co/md8FzMlGVw— The Intercept (@theintercept) March 18, 2020
The news first came to light when it was reported by The Information, a news media outlet dedicated to updates about technology. Their report cited an internal memo circulated within Facebook, sent across to all its employees by CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier this week. The bonus is intended to help employees who will be working from home with any unforeseen expenses they may have to bear, such as setting up home offices or spending on childcare. At present, Facebook employs an estimated 45,000 people across the world. This $1,000 bonus will only be made available to full-time employees, not contractors. Meanwhile, the company will continue to pay its hourly workers, such as janitors and cafeteria workers, their regular wages though their hours have been cut as a result of the shutdowns.
Facebook is one of several tech companies that have allowed their employees the ability to work from home. Twitter, Google, and Amazon, too, have implemented remote working orders to varying degrees of flexibility to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Last week, Twitter made work from home a mandatory fixture for its worldwide workforce, whereas Google employees located in North America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, have been instructed to work remotely. Facebook and Amazon, on the other hand, have not made remote work mandatory for their employees. Nonetheless, these companies have encouraged those who are able to work from home to do so. These measures are expected to slow the spread of the disease so as to stop public health systems from being overburdened.
Facebook will NOT pay any of its hourly contractors & subcontractors $1,000 bonuses. Many of these Silicon Valley Big Tech companies contract H-1B visa workers from third party contracting companies because they can pay those contract workers less, & avoid paying benefits. https://t.co/tOtLm0thx1— U.S. Tech Workers (@USTechWorkers) March 18, 2020
In addition to the $1,000 bonus, Facebook will also be helping small businesses across the globe manage the epidemic with more ease. As per Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, the company plans to spend an additional $100 million to support 30,000 small businesses across 30 countries that have been affected by shutdowns. She wrote in a Facebook post, "In recent weeks, we have seen inspiring examples of individuals and groups helping each other. People across the globe are stepping up, rising to the enormous challenge in front of us. We want to do our part too. Small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities, and many of the people who run these businesses are heavily affected by the crisis – especially as more and more people sensibly stay home. The longer the crisis goes on, the greater the risk to small businesses and to the livelihoods of their owners and employees. We’ve listened to small businesses to understand how we can best help them. We’ve heard loud and clear that financial support could enable them to keep the lights on and pay people who can’t come to work."
Companies can apply to receive some portion of that money through cash grants or ad credits. Further to this, Facebook will host virtual training "to help people connect and learn to use technology through Blueprint, [Facebook's] free e-learning training program." During this public health crisis, several employees will be affected by shutdowns and isolation. It is heartening to see one of the biggest tech companies in the world step up and do their part. Sandberg affirmed, "Whatever happens next, we will be working to help businesses weather this storm. Please keep safe and look out for those around you."