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Amid COVID-19, Wikimedia Foundation offers full pay for reduced hours, mobilizes all staff to work remote, and waives sick time

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By Katherine Maher
Katherine Maher, the Wikimedia Foundation Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, published this on March 6 and updated it March 14, 2020 at WMF News. Detailed updates are available on COVID-19 on Meta. -S

Update: On March 14, 2020, the Wikimedia Foundation announced new measures to support employees and protect general public health amid COVID-19. As part of these operational actions, we have:

Importantly, we have shifted our priorities to essential work, including keeping Wikipedia online and available for the world as a critical informational resource. Please see here for real-time updates about our COVID-19 response, as well as related resources.

The Wikimedia Foundation is closely monitoring developments with respect to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its potential impact on our staff and the communities in which we all live. Today, we’re sharing steps we’re taking to protect our employees and how we plan to do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

For the remainder of March 2020, our San Francisco office will be closed to staff and visitors. We are putting in place measures to ensure that our San Francisco-based staff have resources and support to continue working remotely. Our Washington D.C. office will remain open for the time being, though we are encouraging everyone to take precautions to protect themselves and their communities and to work remotely where possible.

We have also temporarily suspended nonessential travel for all staff, and instituted a risk review process for any travel considered essential. In addition, we have been in touch with members of the Wikimedia movement community with respect to upcoming events and are taking necessary steps to cancel or postpone these, based on potential risks.

To ensure we continue to evaluate and take action to limit the spread of COVID-19, we have established a responding team of staff to monitor new developments and determine the appropriate measures as the situation further develops. This team will also be tasked with ensuring we have clear, actionable protocols and plans to maintain the continuity of technical needs to provide free knowledge for our hundreds of millions of users around the world.

Approximately 64 percent of Wikimedia Foundation staff are remote, and so we do not anticipate a major disruption in our work. That said, we’re continuing to evaluate and take necessary measures to meet the organization’s goals and priorities.

We encourage our staff, partners, volunteer communities, and everyone to take care of themselves during this time, and recognize the role each of us can play in not only limiting the spread of the disease for ourselves, but also for the communities we all live in. Stay safe, be well, and we’ll keep you updated as the situation develops.

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