In an email to employees on Tuesday, Google's parent company, Alphabet (GOOGL 0.95%) (GOOG 0.97%), has recommended that all employees in North America should work from home beginning immediately to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Workers were asked not to go to the office until at least April 10. Other technology companies have taken similar steps in recent days.
"Out of an abundance of caution, and for the protection of Alphabet and the broader community, we now recommend that you work from home if your role allows," Chris Rackow, Google's vice president of global security, wrote in the message. The email goes on to say, "The goal of businesses moving to work-from-home (WFH) arrangements is to significantly reduce the density of people and lower the health risk in offices."
The company had previously issued a voluntary work-from-home memorandum but changed the wording to "recommended" in its most recent directive. This applies to all 11 of Alphabet's offices in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, affecting more than 119,000 employees.
This move follows a decision last week from tech giants Google, Microsoft (MSFT -0.01%), Facebook (META 1.10%), and Twitter (TWTR) to continue to pay hourly workers their regular wages, even if they're prevented from going to the office.
Alphabet also announced today that it is establishing a COVID-19 fund that will allow members of its "extended workforce," including temporary staff and vendors around the world, to take time off if they present symptoms or are placed under quarantine -- even if they aren't officially covered by sick leave.