Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), and Alphabet's Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) are bracing for an onslaught of business disruptions as the novel-coronavirus spreads in the U.S.
Microsoft's actions to close offices for deep cleaning and encourage employees to work at home is taking a toll on many of its hourly workers. To alleviate that financial stress, Microsoft announced that it will continue to pay all of its hourly service providers during the outbreak. That's regardless of if their services are needed. They include workers who staff Microsoft's cafes, drive its shuttles, and support its on-site tech and audio visual needs.
In Puget Sound, Microsoft said it will ensure 4,500 hourly employees continue to get paid even if work hours are reduced. Two of Microsoft's employees, one working at Microsoft and another at its LinkedIn unit have tested positive for the virus.
Facebook, Google, and Twitter have all followed Microsoft's lead, planning to continue to pay hourly workers regular wages during office closures. Twitter also vowed to reimburse employees for some of the costs associated with setting up a home office.
For weeks, technology companies have been taking steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus and mitigate some of the economic blow it will bring. In addition to encouraging employees to work from home, tech companies have suspended all travel and canceled conferences. They're also closing facilities to prevent the spread of the virus. As of Friday afternoon, there were 164 confirmed cases in the U.S., but that's expected to surge over the weekend.