Community Issues

Big Employers, NBA Team, Will Pay Hourly Workers During Virus Scare

As the Coronavirus slows or shuts down their workplaces, support staff at these companies will be paid anyway.

Many employers are encouraging employees to work from home during the uncertainty over the Coronavirus. But what about hourly support workers who can't "work" from home, and may not be needed in offices where most professional staff are now telecommuting?

Some of the nation's tech giants -- and the owner of an NBA team, are all promising to pay hourly workers during this time -- whether they're needed on the job or not. These are people like custodians, food service workers, drivers -- you name it. "We recognize the hardship that lost work can mean for hourly employees," said Microsoft President Brad Smith in a blog post.

Brad SmithMicrosoft

"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." The Verge reports that Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Twitter have pledged to do the same.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told ESPN that his team would "put together a program" for hourly workers who will lose work, now that the NBA has suspended the season following a Utah Jazz player testing positive for the Coronavirus.

"This is much bigger than basketball." --Mavericks owner Mark Cuban

Microsoft's Smith is urging any employers who can afford it to follow suit. "We appreciate that what's affordable for a large employer may not be affordable for a small business, but we believe that large employers who can afford to take this type of step should consider doing so."

Good for these employers to be thinking of how families will make ends meet during this time of great uncertainty.

How can you start something good?

Most of us don't own companies, so we're not in a position to make sure paychecks are coming to hourly workers whose services aren't needed because of business shut downs due to the Coronavirus.

But now is the time to step up and support those organizations that support the under-or-unemployed. Find a social services non-profit in your community, the local food bank, a free store where clothing and household items are free for the taking -- and do what you can to make sure your neighbors aren't doing without.

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