Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) is stepping up its response to the global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic by ordering all its employees to work from home.
The microblogging service employs 4,900 people around the globe, with offices in the U.S., Hong Kong, and South Korea. Earlier this month, Twitter said it would pay its contractors and hourly employees their normal wages during the outbreak, even if they are unable to do their jobs from home.
Alphabet's (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google earlier this week called for its North American employees to work remotely if their roles allowed it. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Google, and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) have also committed to paying contractors and hourly workers who are impacted by the outbreak and related business disruptions.
In a blog post, Twitter said it was moving beyond "strongly encouraging work from home" to a policy that all employees "must" work from home. "We understand this is an unprecedented step, but these are unprecedented times," Twitter wrote. In addition to paying contractors, hourly workers, and vendors, the company said it would provide reimbursement for parents who need additional daycare, and would reimburse employees for expenses associated with setting up a home office.
The World Health Organization's declared this week that the COVID-19 outbreak has reached pandemic levels. Worldwide, the most recently available data shows that there are 129,590 confirmed cases and have been 4,749 deaths. In the U.S., the numbers are steadily rising: Though the country still lags in testing, it now has 1,374 confirmed coronavirus cases. A growing number of companies are taking steps to try to slow the spread of the disease by banning work-related travel, canceling conferences and events, and now mandating employees work from home.