×

BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti Relents on PTO Pay for Laid-Off Staffers

BuzzFeed will pay laid-off staffers for their accrued paid time off after all: CEO Jonah Peretti told staff in a company-wide email Monday afternoon that BuzzFeed was going to add changes to its separation agreement to account for PTO time for all U.S.-based staffers affected by the layoffs.

BuzzFeed had announced company-wide layoffs affecting 15% of its workforce last week. Included in the cuts was the BuzzFeed News newsroom, where the company disbanded its entire national news desk and nearly the entire national security team, among other areas affected.

To add insult to injury, BuzzFeed initially didn’t offer staffers who had accrued PTO time to pay out those days. The only exception for this rule was California, where labor laws require companies to pay out accrued PTO time within 24 hours of a layoff.

This led to BuzzFeed staffers to band together in an ad-hoc group that called itself the “BuzzFeed News Staff Council.” The group took to Medium Saturday to demand that the company honor PTO accrual, and pay out laid-off staffers even in states that don’t require this by law.

“This is paid time that employees accrued by choosing not to take vacation days, and instead do their work at BuzzFeed,” the group said in an open letter to the company. “Many of the employees who have been laid off had the most difficult jobs in terms of scheduling — such as the breaking and curation teams on BuzzFeed News who regularly worked weekends and holidays, or managers who weren’t able to use vacation time because they were expected to be available to their teams.”

The letter was signed by more than 500 current and former staffers by Monday.

Peretti initially defended the company’s handling of PTO accruals, saying: “We looked at the total severance consideration and it was fair.” However, he also signaled that he was open to change his mind on the issue, and met with the Staff Council Monday afternoon.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you to the nearly 600 BuzzFeed employees who signed this letter and stood in solidarity,” responded the Staff Council on Medium. “Your support made this happen.”

More Digital

  • Justin Connolly

    Disney Merges All Media Sales and TV Channel Distribution Under Justin Connolly

    Disney promoted Justin Connolly to the new role of president, media distribution, overseeing a single organization that combines all of the company’s media sales and TV channel distribution operations. Connolly previously served as EVP, affiliate sales and marketing, Disney and ESPN Media Networks. Based in New York, he will report to Kevin Mayer, chairman of [...]

  • NASA - International Space Station

    Hulu Is Getting NASA TV in Time for the Moon Landing Anniversary

    Hulu’s live TV service is getting NASA TV just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. In addition to a live feed, which is available only to subscribers of Hulu’s live TV tier, Hulu is also gaining access to select NASA TV series on demand. The live TV deal was announced [...]

  • iheartmedia logo

    iHeartMedia Stock Drops in NASDAQ Debut

    Shares of iHeartMedia, the U.S.’s biggest radio network, fell as much as 7% after they commenced trading Thursday on the NASDAQ Global Select Market, and ended the day down around 3%. Last month, after exiting a year-long bankruptcy reorg, iHeartMedia announced it was approved for listing on NASDAQ, instead of pursuing an IPO. The company’s [...]

  • iHeartMedia-Pride-Media-TheOutcast-Logo

    iHeartMedia, Pride Media to Co-Produce Slate of LGBTQ+ Podcasts

    iHeartMedia is teaming with Pride Media, the media company whose brands include Out, The Advocate and Pride, to co-produce a slate of LGBTQ+ podcasts in 2019-20. The partnership will kick off with “The Outcast,” an iHeartRadio original podcast co-produced with Out Magazine. Hosted by Out Magazine deputy editor Fran Tirado, the weekly podcast will explore [...]

  • Netflix Reed Hastings

    Netflix Shares Dive After Q2 Stumble: Just a Hiccup or Sign of Bigger Trouble?

    Netflix badly undershot its subscriber forecasts for the second quarter of 2019 — posting its first net U.S. customer decline since 2011 while growth slowed considerably overseas. The company added 2.7 million subs worldwide, almost half as many as the 5 million it had projected. With the big miss, Netflix shares took a predictable hit, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content