Microsoft is about to make some of its contractors take a 6 month break -- and they aren't happy

Satya NadellaANDREW HARRER / BLOOMBERG VIA GETTYMicrosoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Microsoft is making its “external staff” take a six month break after 18 months of work and many aren’t happy, GeekWire reports.

The new rule was implemented 18 months ago and January 1 2016 is, for many contractors and freelancers, the start of six months with no work at Microsoft.

Microsoft does not disclose the number of external people it employs, but a leaked document from 2009 suggested that the figure sits at over 70,000. It is, however, unclear how that number will have changed over the years, especially under CEO Satya Nadella.

Many of the teams that rely on contractors — which, according to GeekWire, is a lot of teams — are starting to worry about the effects of the six month break for the project. Some teams have found workarounds, meaning that the contractors are reclassified, avoiding the break.

“The policy was announced and went into effect on July 1, 2014 and requires that external staff have a break in network and building access after 18 months of such access,” said a Microsoft spokesperson to GeekWire. “We value the partnerships we have with our supplier companies and the external staff they employ and have worked closely with our suppliers since then to plan for these policy changes.”

One Microsoft contractor described it as a “stupid rule,” according to GeekWire, precisely because it causes disruption to work flows. Business Insider contacted Microsoft about the mandatory breaks.

The plan, according to an email from Microsoft, is meant to “reduce our reliance on contingent staff augmentation by over 20 per cent year-over-year.”

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