Employee Death Benefits at Google – 50% salary for surviving spouse for 10 years
In a recent interview with Forbes, Google’s Chief People Officer Laszlo Bock revealed a perk that was unheard of till today. In Google’s Death Benefit policy, if an employee dies whilst being employed with the search giant, 50% of the employee’s salary will be paid to the surviving spouse or partner for the next 10 years.
Additionally, their children will be paid $1,000 every month until they are 19 years old.
Forbes also reported that Google’s death benefits do not carry a minimum tenure requirement and for now, only Google US employees are eligible. This means that even if a new employee dies in harness, the same benefits will be given. Additionally, all the stock options granted to the employee will also be immediately vested to the surviving spouse or partner.
Google made this interview and subsequent announcement public to the world via a tweet to more than 5 million followers. The tweet said "VP of HR Laszlo Bock chats to @forbes re: our benefits philosophy & one of our newest perks: death benefits"
Google’s death benefit has not yet penetrated Indian shores however one of the company’s spokesperson said that Indian staff will become eligible soon, reported ET. Google has 4 offices in India at Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai and Gurgaon.
Time and again, Google’s approach to employee policies and professionalism at work has defied many of the basic norms of traditional work culture. The company has not believed that employees have to wear a tie and suit to be productive.
Employees have always got the opportunity to think out of the box as Google has embraced a policy called “Time Off”, where employees can spend 20% of their time working on projects of their own interest. It is believed that many of Google’s iconic products have originated and emerged from this innovative policy.
Google’s offices are known for lavish perks including massage centres, games rooms, lounges, eccentric decor and other facilities that were unheard of in the corporate world. The online giant has consistently been voted as one of the world’s best companies to work for. It topped Fortune magazine’s 2012 list of 100 Best Companies To Work For. The company’s Indian offices are also loaded with perks and facilities that seem too good to be true.
Google’s Hyderabad office has an indoor cricket pitch, basketball court, massage centre, billiards table, foosball tables, table tennis, gym and two cafeterias with chefs preparing cuisines from all the 28 Indian states. In an almost whimsical way of luring employees, Google’s employment page recommends the biryani at its Hyderabad office’s cafeteria.
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Besides the usual array of facilities, Google’s Bangalore office has a ‘nap room’. Employees are offered door to door cab services and office gatherings can happen anywhere between Leh, Goa or the Maldives. Even in India, Google has been voted the best company to work for consecutively in 2010 and 2011 by the Great Place to Work Institute.
Commenting on the death benefit, Laszlo Bock said to Forbes…
"..it turns out that the reason we’re doing these things for employees is not because it’s important to the business, but simply because it’s the right thing to do. When it comes down to it, it’s better to work for a company who cares about you than a company who doesn’t.."
Google was already the Mecca for IT graduates in India and around the world. Fresh graduates have been attracted to the search giant’s payroll because of the chance to work on products that have the potential to change the world. The perks, unconventional work culture and a string of other benefits are undoubtedly an added attraction. With the death benefit, Google’s image as an employer has suddenly been elevated to legendary status and in some ways, this announcement is in tune with Google’s philosophy of "You can make money without doing evil".
It will be interesting to see how other companies around the world react to Google’s generous employee benefits. Death benefits at Google have not only set the bar high, but in some ways, have pushed the horizons of employee expectations from companies around the world.
Whether or not other companies adopt similar policies for employee benefits, it is hard to ignore that Google can potentially pioneer the corporate work culture for coming generations.