A record-breaking 6.65 million people filed a new jobless claim for the week that ended March 28. It’s an astounding number, one that continues to increase rapidly. In fact, the past two weeks have erased nearly all the jobs created in the past five years.
Staggering job losses are creating a landscape of anxious workers which had led to a number of CEOs promising that they will refrain from layoffs. The latest comes from Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff who took to Twitter to ask that all CEOs take a 90-day “no lay off” pledge to help everyone get through the crisis.
This is part of an eight-step plan outlined by Benioff, which includes accelerating vaccines, widespread testing for coronavirus and keeping people safe. Later he explicitly outlined Salesforce’s pledge, tweeting: “Salesforce is pledging to its workforce Ohana not to conduct any significant layoffs over the next 90 days. We will continue to pay our hourly workers while our offices are closed. We encourage our Ohana to pay their own personal hourly workers like housekeepers & dog walkers.” Benioff often uses the Hawaiian word ‘ohana’ which translates to ‘family’ when referring to Salesforce employees
For some, his statement comes as a relief though others have pointed to the CEO’s non-committal language. What exactly constitutes a “significant” layoff isn’t made clear, which has led many to wonder if the CEO has left himself some “wiggle room.” The company currently has around 50,000 employees across the globe, which means “insignificant” layoffs could result in hundreds of people losing their jobs.
Salesforce has donated $1 million to UCSF’s Covid-19 Respond Fund and an additional $500,000 to the CDC Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund while matching employee donations to worthy causes.
Other CEOs have also made bold commitments to their workforce. Morgan Stanley's CEO, James Gorman has assured his staff that "there will be no reduction in force at Morgan Stanley in 2020." He added this was "aside from a performance issue or a breach of the code of conduct."
Bank of America CEO, Brian Moynihan said that the bank is committed to no layoffs in 2020. Citigroup's CEO, Mike Corbat also reassured workers with an announcement that the bank will not be making layoffs due to the pandemic.