As the coronavirus has severely disrupted local businesses that need to stop or cut spending on its offerings, Yelp will lay off 1,000 staffers and furlough about 1,100 additional workers. The company will also cut back on hours for others, as it takes steps to get through a period of substantial uncertainty, according to a post on its website.
“We came to this decision as a last resort only after cutting non-employee expenses where possible,” Yelp Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Stoppelman wrote in the post. We have reduced server costs, deprioritized dozens of projects, and redone our budget based on ensuring company survival (instead of growth).”
Stoppelman also noted that the company put into place 20 percent to 30 percent pay reductions for all executives. He also said that he would not vest any of its stock awards for 2020 for the rest of the year, aside from not drawing a salary.
The executive wrote that the shelter-in-place mandates and physical distancing steps have been a “devastating blow to the local businesses that are core to our mission” although they are “critical to flatten the curve.” He noted that interest in eateries, in one case, has plunged 64 percent as of March 10.
Stoppelman noted that staffers who are impacted by the layoffs will be offered severance in addition to reimbursement for as much as three months of health insurance coverage. While furloughed workers will be placed on unpaid leave “unless otherwise noted,” Stoppelman wrote, they will keep much of their benefits and get two weeks of additional compensation.
He also noted that workers who have had their hours decreased will also keep their benefits.
In March, Yelp had said it would provide $25 million in relief to help independently owned eateries as restaurants struggle to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stoppelman wrote at the time that the company was waving advertising charges for small eateries and bars that stay open during the crisis.
Companies were also to get complimentary access to Yelp page upgrades to help facilitate communication on information such as lessened operating hours.