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- WeWork cleaning staff were laid off on Friday by JLL, the publicly traded real estate company to which the coworking giant outsourced maintenance in December.
- All employees with the title “community service associate” were laid off, per an email seen by Business Insider.
- They’ll be paid and have health insurance through the end of April, and while JLL is paying out vacation time, the company won’t pay out sick time.
- In a December email, a WeWork exec told cleaning staff their benefits would be comparable. Now, they’re receiving much less separation pay than laid-off WeWork employees.
- As the coronavirus has closed offices globally, WeWork’s 300 US locations remain open with reduced, voluntary staffing.
- For more WeWork stories, click here.
WeWork’s maintenance outsourcing provider has cut some of its cleaning staff even as buildings stay open during the coronavirus pandemic, per an email reviewed by Business Insider.
JLL, one of the biggest real-estate services companies, laid off its community service associates on Friday via a conference call, said a source with knowledge of the situation, who was not authorized to speak to media. Business Insider has verified their identity.
It’s unclear exactly how many staff were cut; all employees with the title “community service associate” were laid off, per the email. A source with knowledge of the business said it was not a majority of the 1,000 WeWorkers who were outsourced to JLL in December.
According to past online job postings, community service associates assure “positive Member experience through quality cleaning practices” and are responsible for duties like cleaning and maintaining restrooms, kitchens, and phone booths, disinfecting phone handles, brewing coffee, and maintaining emergency stairwells.
In New York, only about 5% of WeWork’s members are using their office space, Business Insider reported on Friday. But according to its website, WeWork has not shut any of its US locations, explaining that because some of its members are essential and WeWork provides mail and other services, they can remain open.
Still, members have told Business Insider they were still expected to pay WeWork April rent, even if they are nonessential businesses that cannot enter the space.
Smaller flexible-space companies, including Convene and The Wing, have closed and waived members’ rent payments.
According to media reports, WeWork itself is planning further headcount reductions next month. Those cuts would come on top of thousands of jobs the coworking company has slashed after its IPO imploded.
The layoffs come as businesses across industries are grappling with unprecedented drops in business and a massive shift for white-collar employees to work from home, leading to record unemployment claims.
JLL employees laid off on Friday will receive a paycheck and benefits through the end of the month, and they’ll be paid out for accrued paid time off, but not for sick days, per the email. JLL’s separation pay packages vary by clients, a source with knowledge of the business said.
“We understand that this news comes at a difficult time when people are being impacted due to the global economic slowdown,” the Friday email said, directing employees toward unemployment sign-ups.
In December, WeWork said it would outsource its maintenance staff in the US and Canada to JLL in a cost-cutting move executives said was planned well before its failed initial public offering. A WeWork executive who left earlier this year told staff at the time that the outsourced workers’ overall benefits would be comparable, per a leaked email.
In severance, though, employees’ benefits vary widely. WeWork employees who were laid off in recent months have typically received three months of salary and health insurance coverage, not the JLL employees’ 13 days of pay and benefits.
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