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Microsoft is giving employees a $1,500 pandemic bonus

Microsoft is giving employees a $1,500 pandemic bonus


Most non-executive employees are eligible

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Photo by Sam Byford / The Verge

Microsoft is gifting its employees a $1,500 pandemic bonus. In an internal memo seen by The Verge, the software giant says this one-time bonus “is in recognition of the unique and challenging fiscal year that Microsoft just completed.”

Microsoft’s chief people officer, Kathleen Hogan, announced the gift to employees today, and it will apply to all eligible employees in both the US and internationally. Microsoft is gifting this bonus to all staff below corporate vice president level that started on or before March 31st, 2021, including part-time workers and those on hourly rates.

Microsoft has 175,508 employees worldwide, but LinkedIn, GitHub, and ZeniMax employees are not eligible for the bonus, despite Microsoft owning these three separate companies. As a result, we understand it’s a gift of around $200 million, or less than two days’ worth of profit for Microsoft.

It follows similar employee gifts from big companies over the past year, including Facebook gifting its 45,000 employees $1,000 each, Amazon’s $300 holiday bonus for frontline workers, and BT gifting its 60,000 employees £1,500 each (approximately $2,000). Vox Media, owner of The Verge, also gifted employees a $1,000 bonus late last year.

Microsoft says it has also donated “more than $98 million of assistance to nonprofits in Washington state” since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with plans to commit an additional $60 million in support by July. Since the pandemic started, Microsoft has generated at least $160 billion in revenue, thanks to a mix of businesses flocking to cloud services, a boost in laptop sales and Windows usage, and strong Xbox growth.