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Elon Musk puts an end to some Twitter perks, limits expenses due to company's 'challenging' financial situation

elon musk
Elon Musk.Muhammed Selim Korkutata/Getty Images
  • A number of expenses are being "discontinued" at Twitter, according to a leaked email.

  • Citing Twitter's financial straits, home WiFi, team activities and more will no longer be paid for.

  • The email also addressed new policies on free food at Twitter, vacation time and other processes.

Elon Musk's changes to Twitter now extend to its employee expenses, vacation policy and in-office work.

Twitter is entering a new phase of spending austerity under Musk's ownership, according to a company-wide email sent Monday night from Twitter's HR department and viewed by Insider. It came a few hours after Musk held his second all hands meeting with employees at Twitter's San Francisco headquarters and later sent an email directing anyone writing software or coding to send individual weekly updates of their work. Changes during Musk's first month of ownership at Twitter and leading it as CEO have been frequent and sudden, including mass layoffs and firings, often with major changes or demands coming overnight

With Monday's evening email, many changes speculated on by employees or briefly alluded to by Musk are being formalized. Twitter will no longer be covering several costs or paying for a number of perks made available to employees, some for many years, for example. And the maximum amount allotted for work-related trips has been limited, as those trips are also set to become rarer.

"We're facing a challenging economic climate where greater attention to cost management is essential," the email said. "The future of Twitter is super bright if we can work together to be wise stewards of the company's resources."

In addition to these and other changes detailed in the email, Twitter employees are expected to work in the office everyday as of Monday, the day the email was sent. "Exceptions" will be allowed to allow people to remain working from home on a case by case basis, as Musk has said in previous emails. Musk previously softened his stance on working from home, which was offered to anyone working at Twitter under a decision made by previous CEO Jack Dorsey. Dorsey is now an investor in Musk's new version of Twitter.

Perks or "allowances" that are being "discontinued" per the memo include all costs associated with "wellness," "productivity," and "new hire productivity," along with home internet or WiFi costs, training and development or "learning," Camp Twitter, which was a company-wide group activity, and any smaller team activities which were previously expected to happen quarterly. A temporary allowance to cover daycare costs related to COVID is also discontinued.

"Allowances will be reevaluated over time and may be added back when the company's financial situation improves," the email noted. The existence of the email was earlier reported by The Verge, although not its full contents.

A former employee noted that the training and development allowance had been part of Twitter "for years," and let people expense things that would help them improve their work. As had expenses for group or team activities, something that's common among tech companies.

Expenses for other costs, even typical work-related costs, have also been lowered. The allowance for a mobile phone bill is now $50 per month and the daily allowance for food while on a work trip is now $75. One former employee said the previous phone allowance was $150. Meanwhile, the overall limit on expenses for any kind of work-related travel has been "revised" by seniority level, according to the email.

The changes apply to any expenses after Nov. 1, according to the email. It also noted that reimbursements for expenses are currently taking longer than usual "due to high submission volumes," and likely because layoffs and resignations have seen so many people leave the company, including those that had authority to approve worker expenses.

"We are working on rerouting expense reports currently awaiting approval from managers who are no longer at Twitter," the email said.

The food and beverage situation at the company is also in the process of transitioning to a "partially paid" offering, the email said. Meaning Twitter employees will now have to pay for much of the food the company will offer, where before everything was free.

Any travel at Twitter must now be only "for business-critical purposes" and a cost estimate will need to be pre-approved by a manager "prior to making any arrangements." While a manager or senior manager can only now spend up to $500 for a work-related trip, that jumps to $10,000 for a vice president and to $20,000 for a senior VP or a member of "CEO staff," which would mean anyone working directly for Musk.

Beyond that, Musk is also putting in place new restrictions on the process for larger scale procurement of things the company may need.

See below for s full copy of the email:

Team - 

As has been shared, we're facing a challenging economic climate where greater attention to cost management is essential. The future of Twitter is super bright if we can work together to be wise stewards of the company's resources. Out of an abundance of caution and in response to this environment, we're making changes in a few areas we think are necessary at this time and want to communicate them here. Do note that we intend to re-evaluate all of this in time and hope to make additional changes and enhancements when both the economy and the company's financial situation improve.

1) Effective immediately, we've launched a new Travel, Expense and Card Policy (go/tecpolicy), with the following key changes.

-Emphasis on manager accountability. Managers are fully accountable to review and control expense reports in accordance with the policy. Managers who fail to do so will be held fully accountable.

-When to travel. Travel must be for business-critical purposes. The trip and estimated costs must have manager pre-approval prior to making any arrangements.

-Allowances. For the time being, the following allowances have been discontinued:

  • Wellness

  • Productivity

  • New Hire Productivity

  • Home Internet Connectivity (WiFi)

  • Training & Development (Learning Allowance) 

  • Camp Twitter (Temporary Outschool Allowance)

  • Temporary COVID Daycare Allowance

  • Quarterly Team Activity

Allowances will be reevaluated over time and may be added back when the company's financial situation improves.

-Mobile phone allowance. The monthly work-use allowance is revised to $50 USD (or local equivalent). If you have an extenuating circumstance due to international travel or otherwise, please contact your manager.

-Travel meal allowance. The daily allowance is revised to $75 USD (or local equivalent).

-Approval authority. Expense report approval limits for each job level are revised. Full matrix available below.

Job Title

Expense Approval Authority (USD or local equivalent)

Manager/Sr. Manager

$500 USD

Director/Sr. Director

$5,000

VP

$10,000 USD

SVP/CEO Staff

$20,000

A few additional things to note on expenses:

-Expense report processing times are extended due to high submission volumes. The team is working diligently to process your report as soon as possible.

-We are working on rerouting expense reports currently awaiting approval from managers who are no longer at Twitter.

-Former Tweeps are still able to access Concur and have been instructed to submit any outstanding expenses within the first 30 days of their non-working period. xxxxxxx@twitter.com can be contacted for assistance with account access.

-Corporate card reactivations are limited to employees with business-critical needs at this time. Please contact your manager if you believe you fit this criteria.

-Expenses allowable under the prior policy must have been incurred by November 1, 2022 and submitted by November 30, 2022.

2) Effective immediately, we've launched a new Procurement Policy (go/policy), with the following changes:

-Increases purchasing oversight. All contracts for goods or services purchased on behalf of Twitter must be negotiated and approved by Strategic Sourcing. All purchase orders must be created by the Procure-to-pay team.

-Limited access to make purchase requests. Submission of new purchase requests on go/buy is restricted to employees at the Director level or above.

-Reduction in approval authority. Purchasing approval limits for each job level are revised. Full matrix available below:

 

Spend Threshold

Mandatory Competing Bids

Contract Approval Level

<$5k

Buyers discretion

Director

$5k-100k

3

Director

$100k-$1m

5

Senior Director

$1m-$2.5m

Request for Proposal (RFP) required 

Vice President 

>$2.5m

Request for Proposal (RFP) required 

Chief Executive Officer

 

 3) The office:

-Food program. We will be making necessary changes to our Food and Beverage to better control costs, while also working to increase the quality and variety of options. Please be patient with us as we move towards a partially paid model with a variety of grab-and-go options, various catering options and partnerships with local vendors. Coffee, other beverages and snacks will continue to be provided for all employees.

-Dedicated seating. In the spirit of unity, innovation, camaraderie and organization, everyone should have an assigned desk in your team's area.

-Return to office.

-Starting November 21st, 2022, you are required to work in an office.

-Exceptions will be considered and made on a case by case basis, and any exception will require manager and VP approval. Exceptions that have been made will be communicated by EOD Tuesday November 22. If you do not receive approval please share a written request to [redacted email address]. Approvers will be held accountable for employees who receive an exception and who do not maintain the standard of productive excellence.

4) Vacation Policy:

-There has been an uptick in vacation requests without notice. As a reminder, requests for vacation must be made in advance and are subject to your managers approval. In responding to requests for vacation, your manager will include business needs including but not limited to load balancing for your team, upcoming project completion dates, whether or not there are projects or performance deadlines in play and other considerations specific to your role at Twitter. 

5) Equity Compensation and Benefits:

 -Even though Twitter is now a private company, we will continue to provide stock and options as part of our ongoing compensation plan. The structure of that plan is being finalized over the next few days. More info to come asap.

-Your health benefits remain unchanged. Open enrollment is currently active to North American employees. Please review individual benefit elections in Workday by November 29th.

We will be updating our playbooks as well as our wherewework confluence page this week, to include all of the above information. If you have any questions please reach out to [redacted email address].

 

Read the original article on Business Insider