Airbnb won praise for how it laid off employees but the generous benefits weren’t extended to contractors, reinforcing Silicon Valley’s two-tier workforce culture

Airbnb laid off 25% of staff, and drew praise for the generosity of its severance packages and clear communication.But it didn’t offer the same help to the hundreds of contractors it let go last month.While employees were given 14 weeks’ pay, contractors were promised just 2.The disparity highlights the two-tier workforce model that much of…

Airbnb won praise for how it laid off employees but the generous benefits weren’t extended to contractors, reinforcing Silicon Valley’s two-tier workforce culture

Airbnb laid off 25% of staff, and drew praise for the generosity of its severance packages and clear communication.But it didn’t offer the same help to the hundreds of contractors it let go last month.While employees were given 14 weeks’ pay, contractors were promised just 2.The disparity highlights the two-tier workforce model that much of Silicon Valley uses, and that some workers complain makes them feel like second-class citizens.

Airbnb has drawn praise for the careful way it handled its recent round of layoffs, and the industry-leading severance packages offered to employees it had to let go — but the packages it gave to contract workers weren’t so generous.On Tuesday, the buzzy San Francisco-headquartered travel startup laid off 1,900 people — around 25% of staff — after its business was battered by coronavirus and lockdowns across the globe. It came shortly after the company ended the contracts of hundreds of contractors it used early.The way that Airbnb handled Tuesday’s employee layoffs has been lauded in Silicon Valley — both for the generosity of the severance packages, and for CEO Brian Chesky’s clear communication in why the company was taking these steps. “This is how you do layoffs,” wrote Zillow founder Spencer Rascoff on Twitter. “Empathetic, transparent, generous, authentic, apologetic, thoughtful, mission-driven, refocusing.”But while employees were offered 14 weeks of severance pay,
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