CEO of the media company BuzzFeed, Jonah Peretti, said in an internal company memo that he would not take a salary until the COVID-19 pandemic blows over.
He wrote in the memo circulated to employees: “I will not be taking a salary until we are on the other side of this crisis.”
Additionally, The Daily Beast revealed that BuzzFeed will cut the pay for its employees as the firm attempts to come to terms with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
The memo, which was shared with staff earlier this week, announced a graduated salary reduction for the majority of employees for the months of April and May.
Employees in the lowest bracket earning under £55,000 ($65,000) would experience a five per cent reduction, while those taking home between £55,00 ($65,000) to £75,000 ($90,000) would see a seven per cent drop.
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Other members of staff would take a ten per cent cut, while the firm’s executives would take up anything from 14% to 25% off of their pay.
The memo noted that BuzzFeed’s decision to cut pay was to help prevent any layoffs, while also limiting travel and hiring, and reducing real estate costs.
Peretti added: “I understand this will be a real hardship for everyone, but our goal is to make it possible for all of us to get through this.”
Peretti’s decision has since been welcomed, as one employee stated: “A lot of people are happy with this decision because there are no layoffs. People are willing to make the sacrifice to keep their colleagues employed.”
This news comes after HR guru Josh Bersin recently revealed that layoffs during this time could be deadly to a business, HR Grapevine reported. Bersin said: “This raises a lot of important issues. The first is that layoffs, while they may be necessary for survival, can be deadly.”
Despite this, layoffs have risen as the coronavirus outbreak continues to cause panic. For example, Trump Hotels, Marriott International and Compass Coffee have all announced plans to cut staff numbers.
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has come under fire for letting 500 staff members go, while chef Rick Stein has also been criticised for choosing not to pay employee wages as his restaurants close.
The UK Government has stepped in and offered help and support to companies who are suffering as a result of the outbreak. For example, under the new coronavirus job retention scheme, employers will be able to apply for a grant from HMRC to cover the wages of employees who are unable to work due to closures but haven’t been let go from their positions.