Poor BuzzFeed. Between the crappy reporting with the Russia investigation and laying off hundreds of employees, BuzzFeed now faces a revolt from those still employed over the fact that the publication will not provide the laid workers paid time off (PTO).
So far 513 employees have signed the letter addressed to CEO Jonah Peretti, HR head Lenke Taylor, and editor-in-chief Ben Smith
From the letter:
BuzzFeed is refusing to pay out earned, accrued, and vested paid time off for almost all US employees who have been laid off. They will only pay out PTO to employees in California, where the law requires it. We understand that in other states where BuzzFeed employees have been laid off, state law does not require you to do so. But employers absolutely can pay out PTO — and often do. It is a choice, and for a company that has always prided itself on treating its employees well, we unequivocally believe it is the only justifiable choice.
This is paid time that employees accrued by choosing not to take vacation days, and instead do their work at BuzzFeed. Many of the employees who have been laid off had the most difficult jobs in terms of scheduling — such as the breaking and curation teams on BuzzFeed News who regularly worked weekends and holidays, or managers who weren’t able to use vacation time because they were expected to be available to their teams. They saved up those days (or weeks) because they were so dedicated to their work, and, in some cases, felt actively discouraged from taking time off. They have as much of a right to those days as anyone else.
For many people, paying out PTO will be the difference between whether or not bills and student loans will be paid on time and how their families are supported. It is unconscionable that BuzzFeed could justify doing so for some employees and not others in order to serve the company’s bottom line.
Those laid off by BuzzFeed will receive 10 weeks pay and benefits through April.
The Washington Examiner reported on a letter from Taylor in response to the demands:
In response to the letter, Taylor said the company is “open to re-evaluating this decision.” In a note shared with the Washington Examiner, Taylor stated that “we will follow up soon with next steps so a representative group of employees from across the company can meet with Jonah and me about this.”
BuzzFeed management responded internally tonight to the Medium open letter signed by 350 employees demanding that the company pay out earned time off: “We are open to re-evaluating this decision…” pic.twitter.com/llci0v08Bi
— Jeremy Barr (@jeremymbarr) January 28, 2019
Employees of BuzzFeed took to Twitter to continue to express their anger over the laid off not getting PTO:
On Friday, BuzzFeed News lost almost 50 staffers. BuzzFeed plans to lay off around 250 total people with more layoffs this week.
Some of these people won’t be paid out their earned PTO.
Over 300 of us are demanding they get paid what they deserve.https://t.co/VjfydcoyKD
— Megan Paolone (@meganpaolone) January 27, 2019
A letter to BuzzFeed management signed by 350 staff (and counting) standing together in a demand that the company pay out earned paid time off to those who have lost their jobs https://t.co/gV1eM6RAZu
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) January 27, 2019
More than 350 @BuzzFeed employees have signed this @BuzzFeedNews Staff Council letter demanding the company pay out earned paid time off to recently laid-off workers. On Breaking, comp time — credit for extra time worked — was critical to its operation.https://t.co/c7Zq2ZaKSA
— Tom Namako (@TomNamako) January 27, 2019
— Ellie Hall (@ellievhall) January 27, 2019
Update: more than 425 BuzzFeed employees have now signed, including some of our most senior managers. https://t.co/93b0rZjS7T
— Jane Bradley (@jane__bradley) January 28, 2019
We demand BuzzFeed pay out earned paid time off to its recently laid off employees. by BuzzFeed News Staff Council https://t.co/GLC7yLsu4y
— Joe Bernstein (@Bernstein) January 27, 2019
Not only that, but community contributor Jason Sweeten published this quiz at BuzzFeed.
my god https://t.co/AH4PbaJglK
— maya kosoff (@mekosoff) January 28, 2019
can’t imagine it will stay up, so screenshots for posterity pic.twitter.com/ePFynAevPg
— maya kosoff (@mekosoff) January 28, 2019
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