Google’s Incredibly Generous Worker Perk
Google’s Incredibly Generous Worker Perk, The tech giant’s free food and haircuts pale compared to the death benefits for workers’ families. Here’s What Happens to Google Employees When They Die, It’s no surprise that the employee benefits of Google (GOOG) are among the best in the land-free haircuts, gourmet food, on-site doctors and high-tech “cleansing” toilets are among the most talked-about-but in a rare interview with Chief People Officer Laszlo Bock I discovered that the latest perk for Googlers extends into the afterlife.
“This might sound ridiculous,” Bock told me recently in a conversation on the ever-evolving benefits at Google, “But we’ve announced death benefits at Google.” We were scheduled for a talk on Google’s widening age-gap (the oldest Googler is currently 83); I wanted to know how child- and healthcare benefits have evolved as the company has scaled.
Instead, Bock, who joined the company in 2006 after a stint with General Electric, blew me away by disclosing a never-before-made-public-perk: Should a U.S. Googler pass away while under the employ of the 14-year old search giant, their surviving spouse or domestic partner will receive a check for 50% of their salary every year for the next decade. Even more surprising, a Google spokesperson confirms that there’s “no tenure requirement” for this benefit, meaning most of their 34 thousand Google employees qualify.
“One of the things we realized recently was that one of the harshest but most reliable facts of life is that at some point most of us will be confronted with the death of our partners,” Bock says. “And it’s a horrible, difficult time no matter what, and every time we went through this as a company we tried to find ways to help the surviving spouse of the Googler who’d passed away.” The case-by-case do-goodery was formally implemented in 2011. In addition to the 10-year pay package, surviving spouses will see all stocks vested immediately and any children will receive a $1,000 monthly payment from the company until they reach the age of 19 (or 23 if the child is a full-time student).
What makes the death benefit notable isn’t just its generosity-Google is, of course, far from cash-strapped-but rather that, unlike most employee perks on Google campuses that aim to increase happiness, creativity and productivity, providing death benefits is a no-win for the company. “Obviously there’s no benefit to Google,” Bock concedes. “But it’s important to the company to help our families through this horrific if inevitable life event.”