Meta Announces Another Round of Layoffs
Workspan Daily
March 17, 2023

As reported by the New York Times, Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, said on Tuesday that it planned to lay off about 10,000 employees, or roughly 13% of its workforce.  

The company’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, previously referred to 2023 as a “year of efficiency,” which the latest announcement has indicated means a much leaner workforce to account for a decline in expected revenue.  

The layoffs will affect Meta’s recruiting team this week, with a restructuring of its tech and business groups to come in April and May, Zuckerberg said in a memo posted on the company’s website. The announcement is the company’s second round of cuts within the past half year. In November, Meta laid off more than 11,000 people, or about 13% of its workforce at the time. 

Meta also plans to close about 5,000 job postings that have yet to be filled, according to the memo. Other restructuring efforts include a plan to wrap up this summer an analysis of Meta’s hybrid return-to-office model, which it began testing last March. 

“This will be tough and there’s no way around that,” Zuckerberg wrote. 

Meta is scaling back significantly after a period of growth and overhiring that swept up most of the tech industry. The coronavirus pandemic supercharged the use of mobile apps, leading to more growth. At its peak last year, Meta had 87,000 full-time employees. 

But as the global economy soured, and digital advertising markets contracted last year, Meta trimmed employee perks. And after the layoffs in November, which largely affected the business divisions and recruiting teams, Zuckerberg hinted at further cuts.  

Meta’s layoffs are part of a wave of job cuts from the biggest tech companies. In recent months, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Salesforce and others have also said they are trimming their ranks, and some of the companies have increased the number of people they are letting go after initial announcements. Many of the companies have cited a challenging global economic environment for their actions. 

California Court Ruling Affirms Right to Treat Uber and Lyft Drivers as Contractors  

Uber, Lyft and other companies secured a victory with a California court ruling that preserves their independent-contractor model in the state and could boost their efforts to maintain that model elsewhere, the Wall Street Journal reports.  

A state appeals court said that workers should continue to be treated as independent contractors under a California ballot measure known as Proposition 22, though it asked that a clause which put restrictions on collective bargaining by workers be severed from it. 

Proposition 22, which passed in November 2020, allowed these companies to continue to treat their labor force as independent contractors. A California court deemed it unconstitutional in 2021. Monday’s order reversed parts of that lower-court ruling. 

Uber and others are in a global tug of war with regulators over whether and how to grant more benefits such as paid sick leave and health insurance to workers in the so-called gig economy, where apps distribute individual tasks to a pool of people whom companies generally regard as independent contractors. 

California sued Uber and Lyft in 2020, saying they were in violation of a new state law that sought to reclassify their drivers as employees. A legal battle ensued, culminating in Proposition 22, in which Uber, Lyft, DoorDash Inc. and Instacart Inc. asked state voters to exempt them from the law. The companies spent a record amount of money for a California ballot measure, about $200 million. 

“Today’s ruling is a historic victory for the nearly 1.4 million drivers who rely on the independence and flexibility of app-based work to earn income, and for the integrity of California’s initiative system,” the companies’ Prop 22 campaign said. 

Under Proposition 22, the companies offer health insurance for drivers who work 15 hours or more a week, occupational-accident insurance coverage and 30 cents for every mile driven, among other projections.  

The U.S. Department of Labor proposed a new rule in October that will make it harder for these companies to classify workers as independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) The rule is currently facing legal challenges and the California ruling could set the tone for how the FLSA rule is structured.  

Court Rules PTO Is Not Part of Employees’ Salary  

As reported by Reuters, paid time off that employees accumulate is not part of their salary under U.S. wage law, meaning employers can take away paid leave when salaried employees do not meet productivity quotas, a federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday.  

A three-judge panel of the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that Bayada Home Health Care Inc did not violate federal wage law by docking salaried employees' paid time off, or PTO, when they did not work required weekly hours. 

The case marked the first time that a U.S. appeals court was asked whether paid time off counts as part of an employee's salary. The question is important because salaried workers can become eligible for overtime pay if employers make deductions from their wages. 

The 3rd Circuit panel said that while a salary is a fixed amount of compensation paid out at regular intervals, paid time off is a fringe benefit that has no effect on a worker's wages and can be paid irregularly, such as when an employee leaves a company. 

New Jersey-based Bayada operates in 23 states and has about 28,000 employees. A group of Bayada employees, including nurses, physical therapists and social workers, sued the company in Scranton, Pennsylvania federal court in 2016. 

They said that because Bayada deducted PTO when employees did not reach a weekly productivity quota, they were paid based on how much they worked and were not salaried employees exempt from overtime pay under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. 

Bed Bath & Beyond Has Ended Its Severance Payments  

As reported by Bloomberg News, Bed Bath & Beyond isn’t paying severance to employees at stores across the U.S. that it has recently said will close.  

Bed Bath & Beyond executives told staffers around early February that they are rolling out an additional round of store closings and informed workers at those locations that they wouldn’t receive severance, according to internal correspondence and documents seen by Bloomberg News, along with the current and former employees.  

U.S. companies typically aren’t required to pay severance, Bloomberg notes. But Bed Bath & Beyond had offered severance packages to workers who were dismissed during store closings earlier this year and last year. Those packages for store employees offered around 8 to 12 weeks of pay in some cases, representing potentially several thousands of dollars.  

“It strikes one as being wholly unconscionable that workers can simply be let go, but in fact that is the general rule,” said Rachel Arnow-Richman, an employment-law professor at the University of Florida.  

Unlike high-level executives, rank-and-file workers generally lack individually negotiated contracts that would specify severance pay and other benefits in the event that they’re terminated, Arnow-Richman said. She thinks severance pay should be mandatory for all U.S. workers. 

Bed Bath & Beyond has reportedly offered to make a lump-sum payment to some higher-level employees who stay through closing, including $2,000 for store managers and $1,500 for assistant store managers, according to Bloomberg.  

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