Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti said Monday that all laid off workers in the U.S. will receive their unused paid time off and comp days as a part of their severance.

Why it matters: Buzzfeed said last week that 15% of its workforce, roughly 250 employees, would be laid off in an effort to achieve profitability. The layoffs caught employees and the media community by surprise, prompting debate over whether the company has a duty to better compensate its outgoing employees.

"We have decided to out earned and unused PTO and comp days as part of the severance packages for U.S. employees impacted by these layoffs in states where this is not required by law.”
— Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti in a note to staff

Backdrop: On Saturday, more than 450 current and former BuzzFeed employees signed an open letter addressed to Peretti and executives asking to be reimbursed for unused paid time off. BuzzFeed guaranteed payouts only in California, where it is required by law.

  • Those laid off will receive 10 weeks of pay plus benefits through April 2019, as well as all unused PTO and comp days.

The big picture: Peretti has long said a union would not “be right” for BuzzFeed, and that managers would be best able to advocate for their employees instead.

  • Legacy outlets like the New York Times, TIME, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal have been unionized for decades.
  • Mic relaunched with a brand-new staff in November as old staff writers were laid off and in the process of unionizing.
  • HuffPost’s newsroom, which unionized in 2017, also experienced massive layoffs this past week.

The bottom line: The business model for media and quality journalism in the internet era is unstable and unpredictable. Layoffs and restructuring are a byproduct of that reality.

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Updated 7 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 a.m. ET: 12,051,561 — Total deaths: 549,735 — Total recoveries — 6,598,230Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5 a.m. ET: 3,055,144 — Total deaths: 132,309 — Total recoveries: 953,420 — Total tested: 37,532,612Map.
  3. 2020: Houston mayor cancels Texas Republican convention.
  4. Public health: Deaths are rising in hotspots — Déjà vu sets in as testing issues rise and PPE dwindles.
  5. Travel: United warns employees it may furlough 45% of U.S. workforce How the pandemic changed mobility habits, by state.
  6. Education: New York City schools will not fully reopen in fallHarvard and MIT sue Trump administration over rule barring foreign students from online classes.

Coronavirus cases rise in 33 states

Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise, Naema Ahmed, Danielle Alberti/Axios

The coronavirus pandemic keeps getting worse, all across the country. Thirty-three states saw their caseloads increase this week, continuing a scary nationwide trend that’s been getting worse since mid-June.

Why it matters: The U.S. is right back in the situation we were afraid of earlier this year, with a rapidly spreading outbreak, strained hospitals, and projections of more than 200,000 deaths by the end of the year.

Transcripts show George Floyd told police "I can't breathe" over 20 times

Photo: Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Newly released transcripts of bodycam footage from the Minneapolis Police Department show that George Floyd told officers he could not breathe more than 20 times in the moments leading up to his death.

Why it matters: Floyd's killing sparked a national wave of Black Lives Matter protests and an ongoing reckoning over systemic racism in the United States. The transcripts "offer one the most thorough and dramatic accounts" before Floyd's death, The New York Times writes.