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Tesla reaped ‘payroll-related benefits’ from government coronavirus responses

Tesla reaped ‘payroll-related benefits’ from government
coronavirus responses 1

Tesla received “certain payroll-related benefits” from government coronavirus relief programs that, along with cost-cutting, almost made up for the losses it suffered during pandemic-related closures, the company said in its latest quarterly report. Tesla did not specify which governments provided benefits, through which programs, or the value of the benefits.

The Palo Alto electric car maker’s CEO Elon Musk has said the “coronavirus panic” is “dumb,” called coronavirus shelter-in-place orders “fascist,” attacked coronavirus testing and defied Alameda County’s coronavirus closure order by re-opening the firm’s Fremont factory in May. Last Friday, with Congress wrangling over a second huge coronavirus-relief program, Musk tweeted, “Another government stimulus package is not in the best interests of the people” and followed up with, “These are jammed to gills with special interests earmarks. If we do a stimulus at all, it should just be direct payments to consumers.”

The company did not respond to questions about the payroll benefits.

 Tesla’s quarterly report, filed Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, noted that the firm, which turned a profit for the fourth straight quarter, had $8.6 billion in cash reserves. Pandemic-related manufacturing suspensions caused financial losses, according to the report. But company-wide cost-cutting and the “payroll benefits” accruing from “various governmental responses to the pandemic granted to companies globally” almost completely offset those losses, the report said. Tesla has about 50,000 employees in more than a dozen countries.

Tesla’s cost reductions included “furloughing certain of our hourly employees, reducing most salaried employees’ base salaries, and reducing our bonus and commission structures,” the report said, adding that Tesla had also “opportunistically renegotiated supplier and vendor arrangements.” By the end of June, all Tesla factories were open, the report said.

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