This week many at Microsoft began working from home for an extended period due to COVID-19 concerns, and now the company says even though hourly contractors are working less, it still plans to pay them their usual rates.
"We recognize the hardship that lost work can mean for hourly employees," reads today's company blog post. "As a result, we’ve decided that Microsoft will continue to pay all our vendor hourly service providers their regular pay during this period of reduced service needs. This is independent of whether their full services are needed."
As COVID-19 drives more game makers to embrace the convenience of remote computing and collaboration, this is a good reminder that a lot of people whose labor is critical to the industry don't have the same luxury. Microsoft makes a point of recognizing the contributions of on-site hourly workers, including folks who drive shuttles, care for on-site food services, and support Microsoft's IT and A/V needs.
"We’re committed as a company to making public health our first priority and doing what we can to address the economic and societal impact of COVID-19," the Microsoft post continues. "We appreciate that what’s affordable for a large employer may not be affordable for a small business, but we believe that large employers who can afford to take this type of step should consider doing so."
Destiny 2 developer Bungie announced this week it would enact a remote work policy in order to help curb the spread of COVID-19, while Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick suggested that the outbreak could lead to a seachange in how the game industry views remote work at large.