Microsoft said it will offer 12 weeks paid leave to employees with children while schools remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Microsoft evp Kurt DelBene sent employees an email about the new initiative on April 6. The memo specifies that parents can take this leave on a “continuous, reduced or intermittent basis,” meaning they can take it all in one chunk or take a day or take a day off or more per week during the planned academic year.
The company previously offered two weeks paid leave to affected parents in March, but since then, most schools in the United States have closed and children have either stopped schooling entirely or moved to distance learning programs. Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment.
UNESCO estimates that 91% of the world’s students are currently out of school, presenting a challenge to parents juggling changes in their own work while supervising their children during the day.
Around Silicon Valley, other tech companies have stepped up to try to help employees: Facebook is giving $1,000 to each of its 45,000 employees, Apple and Twitter are continuing to pay hourly workers and contractors who aren’t able to do in-person jobs and Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield publicly told his employees to take time off and focus on family.
Meanwhile, not all is well in Silicon Valley. Amazon and Instacart employees went on strike over work conditions and policies. And while many workers can stay home and do their jobs, the tech firms that deliver goods and food to at-home Americans have struggled to take care of their own.