Microsoft on Thursday announced that it would continue paying normal wages to all employees that work on an hourly basis in Puget Sound and Northern California despite reduced work hours due to COVID-19.

Due to the increase in identified COVID-19 cases in the United States, employees of various companies have been encouraged to work from home. This has led to a reduced need in the service of employees such as cafeteria staff, shuttle drivers etc. This will have a drastic effect on their pay. It is this class of employees that may not be able to afford a temporal absence of wages as well. As a result, the company has decided to continue paying their vendor hourly service providers their regular pay.

According to Microsoft president Brad Smith, while the work to protect public health needs to speed up, the economy cannot slow down. Smith added that the company has committed to making health their first priority and is doing everything in its power to address the social and economic impact of the epidemic. The move according to him, finds legitimacy in the fact that what may be affordable for a large employer may not be affordable for smaller businesses. Thus large employers, who can afford to take such a step, should do so.

The commitment to hourly wages despite reduced service needs is specific to Puget Sound and Northern California. However, the company plans to move forward in a similar way in other parts of the country and the world world affected by the virus.

Microsoft is one of many tech companies that have asked employees to work from home in areas affected by COVID-19. As cases begin to be identified in abundance in California and Washington, companies such as Google, Lift, Square etc. have closed down offices. Many major events of these companies also stand cancelled due to the state of emergency the disease has caused. Prominent events that are no longer taking place include Mobile World Congress, Google’s I/O Developer Conference and Facebook’s F-8 Conference.