How Microsoft Recovers Stronger


Impact Employer Microsoft expands parental benefits, scheduling flexibility for frontline workers, and its HBCU talent pipeline program in response to changes spurred by the COVID-19 crisis.

Published aug. 06, 2020

Recover Stronger Founding Coalition Member

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As the impact of COVID-19 spread in the Puget Sound region, Microsoft was among the first companies to take a number of steps to protect their workers through adapting existing benefits packages.

As we move forward into recovery, Microsoft is making many of these benefits permanent, including:

  • 14 weeks fully paid time off for employees needing to care for children whose schools and childcare facilities are closed;
  • 2 weeks continuous time off, with no formal process or application required; and
  • 12 weeks Pandemic School and Childcare Closure Leave.

Crisis care has also been added to the overall total rewards package to reimburse employees up to $100/day for up to 200 hours of care when they use a caregiver from their own network, e.g. nanny, neighbor, friend, etc.

Additionally, to help prepare for similar scenarios in the future, Microsoft has developed a program that gives its frontline retail team members a structured way to work remotely. Termed “Emergency Remote Operations,” this model helps thousands of retail associates serve customers directly from their homes, adding more flexibility and adaptability to their roles. They’ve also extended this nimbleness to their talent pipeline programs by transitioning their summer internship to a virtual experience and included increased recruitment from HBCUs.

These shifts in inclusive talent practices have helped their current and future employees continue learning and developing their skills even amidst incredibly challenging circumstances, ensuring we’re all able to Recover Stronger.

It is critical that expanding access to economic opportunity creates more inclusive growth, addressing the needs of those who have been most impacted by the health and economic crisis. Joining JFF’s Recover Stronger coalition with other corporate leaders will provide more resources and tools to ensure everyone has the skills, knowledge and opportunity to succeed in the economic recovery.

Kate Behncken, Vice President and Lead for Microsoft Philanthropies

In June, Microsoft launched an initiative to help 25 million people worldwide acquire the digital skills needed in a COVID-19 economy. The initiative will bring together several parts of the company, combining existing and new resources from LinkedIn and GitHub.

Recover Stronger mobilizes Impact Employers to create a more equitable economic recovery by prioritizing the well-being and advancement of the people who make their companies run. Its focus is on those who have faced the greatest challenges in the COVID-19 crisis, particularly frontline workers, people of color, and low-income people.