Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook Inc.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s operating chief, said on Tuesday that the company will do what it can to help its employees and small businesses as the coronavirus spreads and wreaks havoc on the economy.
“We’re going to keep responding to the need that we see,” Sandberg told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on “Mad Money.”
Sandberg’s comments came after Facebook announced that it’s launching a $100 million program to help 30,000 small businesses around the world, while giving its nearly 45,000 full-time employees $1,000 bonus to pay for their remote work supplies or unexpected childcare costs. The company also plans to give every employee the highest possible performance review rating, maximizing their bonuses for the first half of 2020, she said.
“We want to communicate it’s safer to be at home,” Sandberg said.
Facebook began working on its $100 million program late last week, and is hoping to get money to businesses within the next month, she said. Small businesses that have been in business for more than a year can apply for the program online.
“We heard directly from them that they were in need, very nervous, and not able to pay a lot of their employees, and worried their doors would shut,” Sandberg said. “We’re trying to help businesses pay their employees but also shift their businesses online.”
The coronavirus has already had a massive impact on the company. Facebook shares are down more than 28% this year as uncertainties around coronavirus drag down the markets. The S&P 500 has fallen 22%.
On Feb. 27, Facebook canceled its F8 annual software developers conference. In early March, the company began telling its employees to work from home and pulled out of other conferences. Earlier this month, Facebook temporarily banned ads and listings for medical face masks.
Around the world, there are more than 190,000 cases of the coronavirus with at least 7,519, according to Johns Hopkins University. In the U.S., there are at least 5,702 cases, with at least 94 deaths.