Microsoft expands PTO to accommodate employees impacted by coronavirus

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Microsoft is offering employee parents 12 weeks of paid time off in order to help them deal with the school closures that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Implemented in early April the benefit is available to all of Microsoft's global employees, including hourly and salaried workers. Last month Microsoft said it would continue to pay its hourly workers during the crisis.

“We added an additional leave option to give our employees greater flexibility and time off as they face extended school closures,” a Microsoft spokesperson says, noting the benefit can be used for up to two days per week while employees work remotely on other days. “This benefit may be taken on a continuous, reduced, or intermittent basis.”

The coronavirus pandemic has forced the closure of schools in 188 countries, according to estimates from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Several states including Virginia, North Carolina, Kansas and Florida have extended school closures and some have decided to keep students out of school buildings until the end of the year.

Other tech companies have been making efforts to offer support to their employees during this crisis. Facebook announced in March that it would give its 45,000 employees $1,000 and continue to pay its hourly and contract workers in full. Both Google and Twitter will also continue to pay contractors, despite a diminished workload.

The coronavirus reached pandemic status in March and has claimed more than 130,000 lives around the world.

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