A lot seems to be changing at Microsoft and it’s not just the CEO. Under Satya Nadella, Microsoft is bringing about a major change in its policies. New restrictions are being imposed by the software giant on its ‘external workers’. These are the employees that work for the company via temp agencies and vendors. According to the new rules, these workers will have access to Microsoft’s corporate networks and buildings for just 18 months after which they will have to take a break from access for at least 6 months. Tens of thousands of contractors will be affected by this new move who work at the company in different roles from content provision to software development.
The company has never provided an accurate number of the number of its ‘external staff’. This new rule is being applied at a time when the Washington based company has also announced job cuts of 18000 full-time employees because it is reconsidering how it uses the temp and vendor staff. This change was announced via a memo that was sent to the external staffing agencies by the Global Procurement team of Microsoft. Currently, there are two categories of the contract workers of the company; V-dash workers are those who are hired through vendors while those contracted through temp agencies are A-dash workers.
Before this change of policy, the V-dash workers could work for the company indefinitely until the project they were working on was finished. Moreover, after their project ended, they could also be immediately hired for another position or project. With the policy, it means that the workers wouldn’t be able to work indefinitely as a 6 month break would have to be taken if they access the network or buildings of the firm during their work. As far as A-dash workers are concerned, they were required to take a 100 day break after working for a year before change in policy.
For them, the change has extended the time of their work to 18 months instead of a year, but it also doubles the break that they will have to take if their work requires access to Microsoft’s buildings and networks. The V-dash workers weren’t happy with this announcement as they saw it a way for the company to remind them that they aren’t full-time equivalent employees and force them into looking for other positions without needing to fire them. However, Microsoft said that this policy was simply a move by the company made for protecting its confidential information and intellectual property.
A spokesman of the company said that if the workers didn’t need card key access, they could easily work for the company indefinitely without having problems. But, if they do need access, then the next 18 months would tell how this will be accomplished. He said that the purpose of the policy was to prevent access to the network provided to employees by default and to offer it to only those employees who need it for their work. This would keep both intellectual property and confidential information safe from prying eyes.