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PwC has told 40,000 staff members in the US that they can work remotely from anywhere in the country, but could risk a pay cut if they move to places with a lower cost of living.
The decision to allow staff to work on a permanent basis is the most radical response of a Big Four company to the changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the plan, employees facing customers will be allowed to choose ‘virtual’ roles, work from home, unless sometimes necessary in an office for team meetings, visits to clients or other important events, PwC said. .
Staff who decide to work remotely should not come to the office more than three days a month, Yolanda Seals-Coffield, PwC’s deputy leader in the USA, told Reuters.
The reduction of employees moving to cheaper places reflects the approach of technology companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google.
PwC said it was the first professional service firm in the US to allow employees to work remotely from any part of the country.
The decision to allow professionals to work primarily at home in the long term will force competitors, including the big four competitors Deloitte, EY and KPMG, to consider whether they will have to do the same to retain staff.
“We have learned a lot through the pandemic, and working practically while thinking about the evolution of flexibility is a natural next step,” Seals-Coffield said.
“If you are a good employee, in customer service and want to work practically, you can stop completely,” she said.
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PwC expects 30 to 35 percent of suitable staff to opt for permanent teleworking. Partners who manage staff who come to the office regularly may not work remotely.
The policy does not cover PwC’s 15,000 staff in the office, including functions such as human resources and IT support, most of which can already work remotely.
PwC opened the door to reverse the policy if permanent teleworking was not a success. “While these are not short-term moves and are meant to be ongoing options for our people, we will continue to evaluate and innovate – as with all of our policies, benefits and flexibility,” he said.