A one-time bonus will be given to all employees internationally and will cost the company less than two days’ profit.
Microsoft is giving its employees a pandemic bonus of $1,500, which works out at just over €1,200.
The company has 175,508 employees globally, although workers from Microsoft-owned companies LinkedIn, GitHub, and ZeniMax will not be eligible for the bonus, according to an internal memo seen by The Verge.
All staff below corporate vice-president level, including part-timers, who started on or before 31 March 2021 will receive the gift.
The bonuses will cost Microsoft around $200m in total, which is less than two days’ worth of profit at the multitrillion-dollar company.
Since the pandemic began, Microsoft has generated at least $160bn in revenue, thanks to an increase of people using its services to work from home, as well as buying laptops and X-boxes to fill their leisure time.
The company’s gift to its employees follows a pattern established by other tech companies which enjoyed similar profit increases thanks to the pandemic causing consumers to flock to their products.
Amazon gave its frontline workers a $300 holiday bonus last December, which cost the company about $500m.
German online fashion retailer Zalando gave its 14,500 employees a €500 bonus and an extra week off.
Citi also opted to give staff time off and it adopted a Zoom-free Fridays policy to combat Zoom fatigue.
The company behind dating app Bumble also said it would give its employees a week’s fully paid holidays to avoid what it called “collective burnout”.
Last month, chief people officer with tech company HubSpot, Katie Burke, spoke to Siliconrepublic.com about their ‘HubSpot Unplugged’ initiative, which will see employees take a week’s paid leave starting on 5 July.
Burke said the measure was necessary for everyone at the company, including her, after a long, stressful few months coping with pandemic stress.
In the UK, telecom group BT gifted its 60,000 frontline employees £1,500 in recognition of their efforts during the pandemic.
Also last year, Facebook gave a $1,000 pandemic bonus to its 45,000 employees. Mark Zuckerberg has also donated to philanthropic groups to increase coronavirus testing.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has committed to donating $60m to support non-profits in Washington state, in addition to the $98m it has already given since the pandemic began.
Microsoft and LinkedIn have also joined together to create an initiative to provide new skills to those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
Microsoft’s initiative offers free courses, which can be done remotely, through LinkedIn Learning that teach learners skills needed for the top 10 in-demand jobs around the world.