Amazon extends work from home regime till October 2 – Latest News

Amazon extends work from home regime till October 2 - Latest News

Amazon extends work from home regime till October 2 – Latest News

Amazon.com Inc has told staff whose job can be done from home that they can do so until at least Oct. 2, pushing out the timeline on a return to work for many employees as it faces scrutiny over conditions in its warehouses.

“Employees who work in a role that can effectively be done from home are welcome to do so until at least October 2,” an Amazon spokesman said in an emailed statement on Friday, adding it was applicable to such roles globally.

The statement did not specify how much of the company’s overall workforce that covered and which roles.

It said the company is investing funds in safety measures for employees who wish to come to the office “through physical distancing, deep cleaning, temperature checks, and the availability of face coverings and hand sanitizer.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James told Amazon last week it may have violated safety measures and labor practices amid the virus outbreak as the company fired a warehouse protest leader in March.

Workers at warehouses and other facilities have stayed operational to keep deliveries flowing to customers stuck at home in government-mandated lockdowns.

Other employees have been working from home since March.

The company has raised overtime pay for warehouse workers and hired 175,000 people last month while rival brick-and-mortar retailers had to shut stores. It had 798,000 full and part-time workers globally as of Dec. 31.

PayPal processed $16 billion in contributions last year - Latest News

PayPal processed $16 billion in contributions last year – Latest News

Global digital payment platform PayPal leveraged the power of its giving platform to process $16 billion in contributions in 2019, including over $10 billion in contributions to charitable causes, from more than 40 million people around the world, the company has announced.

Releasing its third annual ‘Global Impact Report: in COVID-19 times’, PayPal said it has taken steps to help more than 24 million merchants impacted by COVID-19, including waiving certain fees and deferring repayments on select business loans.

The company said it worked with governments and regulatory agencies to efficiently provide loans to small businesses in the US.

“Given the challenges the world is facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are committed to supporting the needs of our employees, customers, and communities and helping them navigate this unprecedented time,” said Dan Schulman, president and CEO of PayPal.

In 2019, the company said more than 43 per cent of employees participated globally in the Kiva lending campaign, empowering over 10,000 entrepreneurs across 36 countries.

“We maintained 100 per cent pay equity for women globally and ethnic pay parity in the US for the fourth year in a row, and advocated for inclusive public policies such as signing onto amicus briefs in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme.,” said the report.

PayPal employees in Mumbai and Chennai undertook initiatives to drive sustainability by volunteering their time and skills to organise clean-up drives, collect e-waste, plant trees and host environmental awareness events.

PayPal’s total diversity in 2019 was 57 per cent globally, and experienced a 6 per cent year-over-year increase in females in tech roles and 12 per cent increase in ethnic minorities at Director-level roles since 2015.

“We matched 65 per cent of the energy in data centers with renewable generation, representing significant progress toward the company’s goal of 100 per cent by 2023,” said the company.

The PayPal platform is currently empowering more than 300 million consumers and merchants in more than 200 markets globally.

Udaan lays off at least 3,000 contract workers, Technology News, ETtech

Udaan lays off at least 3,000 contract workers, Technology News, ETtech

Udaan lays off at least 3,000 contract workers
Udaan, a business-to-business commerce online startup, has laid off about 10-15%, or an estimated 3,000-3,500, of its contract staff, according to company executives and staffing agencies that ET spoke to.

The job cut is largely driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has significantly dented the company’s revenue from non-essential categories including electronics and apparel.

Udaan’s businesses also include fresh food and pharma which come under the essentials category. Last year, it had received a licence from the Reserve Bank of India for non-bank financing business.

“With the economy showing no or very weak growth signs for at least the next eight-ten months, operating costs have to be recalibrated,” said a company executive that ET spoke to.

Udaan confirmed the job cut while declining to disclose the number of employees impacted.

The company, however, said it would honour all campus placements and pending job offers. “We are adapting to the structural changes in demand in India which is impacting our current infrastructure … Driven by economies of doing business in a sustainable manner, we are compelled to restructuring our teams which has unfortunately made some roles redundant,” a spokesperson said in a statement to ET.

Disgruntled employees took to social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp to share their termination letters, while expressing the fear of being unemployed in the current volatile environment. ET has seen some of the termination letters and videos.

Blue and grey, including entry-level white-collar jobs have been hit the worst after the outbreak of the COvid-19 pandemic.

Abhigyan Sinha, who said he was an employee of Udaan, tweeted on Saturday: “Udaan terminated us without any due notice or information and the reason being business challenges and cost-cutting.” Several other employees tweeted and put out videos alleging that no prior notice or severance pay was given. The company has also drawn a lot of flak on social media for its way of laying off employees.

Udaan, however, said it was providing a month’s gross salary as severance and medical insurance for three months to the laid-off employees.

Udaan raised $585 million in October from Tencent, Altimeter Capital, Hillhouse Capital, GGV Capital and Citibank along with existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and DST Global, which valued the company at close to $3 billion. This was also one of the largest late-stage investment rounds last year.

“The market is bad across the board, from a business and a fundraising perspective. The aim (for Udaan) is capital conservation and recalibrating fundamentals,” said an investor in the company, adding that the drive to cut costs had been ongoing for a few months.

Earlier this month, ET reported that the Indian Staffing Federation had urged the labour and finance ministries to take immediate steps to protect the livelihood of 33 lakh temporary workers in the country by easing regulations and statutory compliance.

Zoom App Banned for Google Employees: Google bans employees from using Zoom app

Zoom App Banned for Google Employees: Google bans employees from using Zoom app

NEW DELHI: After NASA and Elon Musk’s space exploration company SpaceX, it’s now Google’s turn to ban its employees from using the Zoom app. Ever since work from home has become a norm across the world due to the coronavirus pandemic, professionals have turned to apps like Zoom. The teleconferencing app has seen its popularity go through the charts but comes with its fair share of privacy concerns. As reported by BuzzFeed, Google sent an email last week to all its employees about banning the app. Google told its employees that whoever had Zoom installed on their machines, the software will soon not function. Google emailed employees last week about the ban, telling workers who had the Zoom app installed on their Google-provided machines that the software would soon no longer function. Interestingly, Google does have its own Zoom competitor, Meet, which is a part of the G-Suite apps.

Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda told BuzzFeed News that the company has had a policy of not allowing employees to use “unapproved apps” for work. “Recently, our security team informed employees using Zoom Desktop Client that it will no longer run on corporate computers as it does not meet our security standards for apps used by our employees. Employees who have been using Zoom to stay in touch with family and friends can continue to do so through a web browser or via mobile,” Castenada told BuzzFeed News.

Elon Musk’s space exploration company SpaceX has also told its employees not to use Zoom. According to a report by Reuters, SpaceX sent a memo to its employees on March 28 where it clearly stated that employees shouldn’t use Zoom. “We understand that many of us were using this tool for conferences and meeting support. Please use email, text or phone as alternate means of communication,” the memo noted. The report further stated that the company had taken the decision to not use Zoom as the app was facing “significant privacy and security concerns.”

A flurry of online reports has suggested that Zoom does have privacy and security concerns. Lack of end-to-end encryption has been a big concern. Zoom CEO Eric S Yuan said that the company is taking the necessary steps to meet the challenges. The company for the next 90 days will not launch any new features but instead work on security and privacy issues.

zoom video app: Standard Chartered Bank CEO to employees: Stop using Zoom, Google Hangouts

zoom video app: Standard Chartered Bank CEO to employees: Stop using Zoom, Google Hangouts

Standard Chartered Plc is the first major global bank to tell employees not to use Zoom Video Communications Inc during the coronavirus pandemic due to cybersecurity concerns, according to a memo seen by Reuters.

The message, sent by Chief Executive Officer Bill Winters to managers last week, also warned against using Alphabet Inc’s Google Hangouts platform for virtual gatherings.

Neither service offers the level of encryption of conversations that rivals like Cisco System Inc’s Webex, Microsoft Corp’s Teams or Blue Jeans Network Inc do, industry experts said.

A Standard Chartered spokeswoman declined to comment on a Reuters query on the memo. She said cybersecurity remains a top priority and that staff can use several authorized tools for audio and video conferencing.

The London-based bank is the latest entity to distance itself from Zoom after interlopers exposed security flaws by bursting into strangers’ video chats in the nude, inserting lewd images into presentations or hurling racial slurs at participants.

These “Zoombombing” incidents have rattled all kinds of users, as hoards of business people, students, families and friends flocked to the service to stay connected while isolating during the pandemic. Zoom in March had about 200 million people using its system every day, up from 10 million last year.

Banks have particular worries about cybersecurity because of regulations that can penalize them for exposing customer information, even if inadvertently.

Standard Chartered staff are mostly using Blue Jeans, said two employees who were not authorized to speak on the matter.

The bank joins others ranging from Elon Musk’s SpaceX to New York City’s public school system and governments in Taiwan and Germany in placing restrictions on Zoom. Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation warned Americans of its dangers two weeks ago.

Zoom, founded and headed by former Cisco manager Eric Yuan, last week tapped former Facebook Inc security chief Alex Stamos as an adviser on safety and privacy concerns to quell the global backlash against its perceived flaws.

Zoom did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

TRICKY CHOICE

Choosing a communications provider is tricky for banks, which have to balance security concerns, data-access needs and the preferences of clients and employees, who may wander off to another service outside official channels if rules are too stringent.

Industry workers described a mixed experience with video chats in the age of coronavirus.

Two JPMorgan Chase & Co employees said they regularly hold meetings on Zoom and that the bank had not offered any formal guidance about its use.

Some Goldman Sachs Group Inc employees have been holding virtual “pub outings” on Zoom, where they connect after work with a cocktail or beer in hand to chat, a source said. The bank’s chief technology officer told staff in an April 3 video that they could use Zoom and Blue Jeans.

Morgan Stanley employees are also allowed to use Zoom, among other options, a source there said. Barclays Plc only uses Zoom if a client requests it, according to a source. People at Wells Fargo & Co and Citigroup Inc said Zoom is not a familiar option at their banks, which rely on other services.