Tech billionaire Marc Benioff wants every CEO to take a 'no-layoff' pledge as part of an 8 point plan to deal with coronavirus

Marc Benioff
  • Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, known for his outspokenness on social and political issues, is urging everyone to take steps to stop the spread of the coronavirus. 
  • Benioff is calling on CEOs to take a 90 day "no layoff pledge" to help their employees through this crisis, as part of an eight point plan he tweeted to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and end the coronavirus crisis. 
  • Salesforce itself has taken steps to help mitigate the spread of the virus, including donating medical masks to local hospitals, asking all employees to work from home, and offering its technology for free to healthcare teams. 
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Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is calling on CEOs to take a 90 day "no layoff pledge," as part of an eight point plan to end the coronavirus crisis. 

Benioff's plan, which he tweeted, includes steps to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, which has wreaked havoc on the global economy, as governments all around the world shut down "non-essential" businesses to try and stop the virus from spreading. Those shutdowns have led to surging unemployment: Last week, US jobless claims surged to a two-year high.Advertisement

Benioff has long been vocal on social and political issues, touting his belief that business is the greatest platform for change, and his plan includes measures for both private companies and governments. 

The first step: for everyone to stay home for 20 days. San Francisco, Benioff's hometown and the location of Salesforce HQ, was among the first counties in the U.S. to issue a shelter-in-place order, prompting mandatory work-from-home for everyone who could do it and shutting down all non-essential businesses that depend on physical locations. 

Benioff's next steps focus on addressing the medical and safety concerns the coronavirus brings up. Right now, hospitals around the world are facing a shortage of masks and other protective gear, like gloves, which healthcare workers at the front lines need to keep themselves healthy as they treat patients. Benioff urges the government and corporations to establish a supply chain management system for protective equipment and to ramp up production of therapeutic medicines, while keeping a database of how patients respond. The federal government should issue guidelines for treatments, he says. 

Next, Benioff mentions accelerating the creation of COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccines typically take years to make, but many organizations are working as fast as possible to stop the spread of the disease. According to the World Health Organization, there are about 40 coronavirus vaccines being developed right now.

Next Benioff wrote about testing: Test everyone, he said, including people who may have already had it. After weeks of delays and stumbles, testing capacity in the US is finally starting to increase noticeably in recent days. Once those steps are done, Benioff recommends releasing workers who have not shown symptoms and developing a way to keep testing frontline workers, presumably like doctors, nurses, and delivery drivers. He also calls on every CEO to "take a 90 day 'no lay off' pledge."Advertisement

Layoffs have already started in earnest in recent weeks, particularly in the travel and the hospitality industries, and President Trump said on Monday that he wants to restart the US economy by ending shelter-in-place-orders as fast as possible to stem job losses. While Benioff's call for a layoff freeze would be harder for some industries than others, other tech luminaries have also urged companies to only conduct layoffs as an absolute last resort. Salesforce and other major tech companies like Google and Facebook have all committed to continuing to pay hourly employees who worked in their offices, despite the closures. 

Benioff's last step calls for showing compassion to everyone as we deal with this crisis. 

Benioff said his plan was edited by David Agus, a doctor and professor of medicine and engineering at the University of Southern California, who has also written books on health and wellness. Also, while Benioff describes it as eight steps to address the crisis, there are really nine steps in his tweets. By Wednesday morning, Benioff's initial message had been retweeted nearly 500 times. Advertisement

Salesforce itself has done a number of things to help mitigate the crisis. The company is also donating $1.5 million to the City of San Francisco to support its response to the coronavirus crisis, donating marks, and offering free access to its Health Cloud product to emergency response teams, call centers, and care management teams affected by coronavirus.

Here is Benioff's series of tweets detailing his plan:


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