Google to require casual workers get health care, parental leave

Google. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Google. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Google will require contracting companies it does business with to give employees health care, parental leave and other benefits. The decision comes after months of activism from Google staff and contractors asking for equal treatment.

The new policy will require health benefits, sick leave, a $15 minimum wage, paid parental leave and $5 000 a year for education, a Google spokesperson wrote in an email.

More than half the internet giant’s workforce is not full time. The company pays for tens of thousands of contractors, temporary workers and vendors - known internally as TVCs - who do everything from serving food in cafeterias to software code. Some of these people are employed by large staffing firms, including Adecco and Randstad.

Alphabet’s Google is famous for generous benefits and luxurious working conditions. Now, contracting firms will have to offer some of these expensive benefits, too.

Google’s top requirement is comprehensive health care that covers the employee and their dependents and includes hospitalization, preventative and wellness services, laboratory and emergency services, prescription drugs, mental health services, labour and delivery, newborn and pediatric services, oral and vision care, rehabilitative and habilitative care, and counseling.

A Google representative told the Hill that the company will give suppliers until 2022 to institute the health-care benefits. The Hill reported Google’s move earlier.

Contracting firms must also provide a minimum of eight days of sick leave, plus 12 weeks of paid leave for birth parents, non-birth and adoptive parents. The $5 000 a year for education will be in the form of tuition reimbursement to learn new skills or take courses, Google said.

"Going forward, in order to do business with Google, all companies that employ US vendors and temporary staff will need to provide these things," the spokesperson said.

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