Hundreds of current and former BuzzFeed employees on Sunday issued an open letter demanding the company pay out the earned paid time off accrued by employees who were dismissed in a brutal sweep of layoffs that cut 15 percent of the outlet’s staff last week. “Every aspect of the way that these layoffs have been handled so far — from communication to execution to aftermath — has been deeply upsetting and disturbing, and it will take a long time to repair the damage that has been done to our trust in this company,” the employees wrote in the letter, which they shared on Medium. “But there’s one thing you can do right now to help the employees who are losing their jobs,” the letter’s authors wrote, calling on the company to pay out paid time off to all employees, and not just those in California, where it’s required by law. The 357 co-signed employees acknowledged that the company has no legal obligation to pay out the PTO, but argued that it does have a moral one: “It is a choice,” the letter stated, “and for a company that has always prided itself on treating its employees well, we unequivocally believe it is the only justifiable choice.”
This isn’t the first time BuzzFeed’s management has faced criticism for the layoffs: As The Daily Beast previously reported, employees slammed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti on the company’s internal slack channel for spreading out the layoffs over the weekend and announcing the cuts to the media just after announcing them to staffers. A BuzzFeed spokesperson told The Daily Beast on Sunday night that it has provided all laid off employees with 10 weeks of pay and benefits through April.