Microsoft Set to Lay Off 10,000 Employees
Workspan Daily
January 20, 2023

Microsoft will join the long and distinguished list of tech companies reducing staff significantly in the coming weeks. CEO Satya Nadella said on Wednesday the software company will lay off 10,000 employees, reducing the company’s headcount by less than 5%.  

“As we saw customers accelerate their digital spend during the pandemic, we’re now seeing them optimize their digital spend to do more with less,” Nadella said in a memo to employees.  

“We’re also seeing organizations in every industry and geography exercise caution as some parts of the world are in a recession and other parts are anticipating one,” he added.  

Persistent recession fears, rising interest rates and a shift back toward a pre-pandemic lifestyle have bludgeoned the industry, ABC News reported.  

Microsoft announced the layoffs on the same day that Amazon resumed a monthslong wave of cuts that will ultimately slash a total of 18,000 workers. Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said the company was set for additional layoffs in a memo to employees earlier this month. 

Over the past year, major tech companies have cut hundreds of thousands of jobs. The list of companies that have undertaken layoffs includes Twitter, Lyft, Stripe, Salesforce, Coinbase and Robinhood. 

 “When I think about this moment in time, the start of 2023, it’s showtime — for our industry and for Microsoft,” Nadella said.  “As a company, our success must be aligned to the world’s success.” 

Home Depot Will Pay Workers to the Minute   

Home Depot will change its policy for hourly employees to pay to the nearest minute based on time punches, HR Dive reported.  

The home improvement chain has faced a number of wage and hour lawsuits over the years, with a recent group of California employees filing a class-action suit alleging they were underpaid due to the company’s quarter-hour rounding system.  

“Our policy has been to round total shift time up or down to the nearest 15 minutes, which has been a common industry practice for many years,” Beth Marlowe, a Home Depot spokesperson, told HR Dive. “As laws, technology and workplace practices continue to evolve, we’re changing our practice nationwide effective Jan. 16, 2023, to pay hourly associates to the nearest minute based on exact time punches.” 

The Fair Labor Standards Act allows employers to use rounding to the nearest 5-, 10- or 15-minute increment in timekeeping.  

“Presumably, this arrangement averages out so that the employees are fully compensated for all the time they actually work,” the law states. “For enforcement purposes this practice of computing working time will be accepted, provided that it is used in such a manner that it will not result, over a period of time, in failure to compensate the employees properly for all the time they have actually worked.” 

Union Membership Rate Hits Record Low  

The share of U.S. workers who are members of unions fell to a record low last year even though unions added more members than in any year since 2008 following union elections at workplaces including Starbucks Corp., Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc., the Wall Street Journal reported.  

About 10.1% of wage and salary workers were union members last year, down from 10.3% in 2021, the Labor Department said Thursday. The membership rate has been falling for decades as the economy has become more reliant on services industries, where workers haven’t traditionally been unionized. 

Union membership grew by 273,000 last year to 14.3 million, a rise of 1.9%. But the overall labor force grew by 5.3 million, or 3.9%, the department said. 

Unions remain the exception in most private-sector workplaces. About 7.2 million private-sector workers, or about 6% of the 120.36 million private-sector workforce, were represented by unions last year, the Labor Department said. That compared with about 7.1 million public-sector union members, or 33.1% of the 21.32 million public-sector workforce. 

Union representation of leisure and hospitality workers rose to 2.8% last year from 2.2% a year earlier, still well below overall private-sector representation. 

Experts note that a tight labor market has given workers more leverage over their employers and led to a renewed interest in labor unions. A total of 1,363 union elections were held in fiscal year 2022, the most since 2015, according to the National Labor Relations Board. Unions won the ability to represent workers in 1,041 of those elections, also the most since 2015.  

Workers have also been engaging in more strikes and work stoppages. Workers launched 22 strikes last year involving more than 1,000 workers, according to the Labor Department, the most since 2019. A total of 125,000 workers took part in the strikes, also the most since 2019. 

“It’s going to take a lot more to shift union density,” Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, told the Journal.  

A possible recession this year could pose new challenges for unions, she added. “If the economy constricts then there are going to be fewer new jobs for unions to organize.” 

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