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Microsoft is giving workers 12 weeks of paid parental leave because of school disruptions

By Rishi Iyengar, CNN Business

    (CNN) -- Microsoft is giving its workers an additional three months of paid parental leave to deal with extended school closures due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Parents who work for Microsoft can choose how and when to use the leave — whether it's a three-month stretch or a few days a week — a company spokesperson told CNN Business. The company is calling the program "12-Week Paid Pandemic School and Childcare Closure Leave."

The news was first reported by Business Insider.

The policy is meant to "give our employees greater flexibility and time off as they face extended school closures," the spokesperson added.

The coronavirus has forced schools around the world to shut, with UNESCO estimating that school closures across 188 countries are impacting more than 91% of the world's student population — around 1.6 billion children and young adults. Several US states have extended school closures, with some governors already announcing schools will remain shut for the rest of the academic year. That includes Washington, where Microsoft is headquartered.

Microsoft's move is one of several measures tech companies are taking to adapt to lockdowns, as most of their employees transition to working remotely due to the global pandemic. Facebook announced last month that it would give $1,000 to each of its 45,000 employees, and will continue to pay its hourly and contract workers in full despite reduced workloads. Google and Twitter have also said they will continue to pay contractors.

But other tech companies, such as Amazon, have come under fire for their treatment of workers amid the outbreak, particularly those at their warehouses and distribution facilities.

The-CNN-Wire
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