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Google stops paying remaining maternity and medical leave for laid-off employees

TechTechnologyGoogle stops paying remaining maternity and medical leave for laid-off employees
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A man walks through the Google offices on January 25, 2023 in New York City.

Leonardo Munoz | Corbis News | Getty Images

Google is indicating to former employees laid off during maternity and medical leave that they will not receive pay for all of their remaining time off, according to former employees and written correspondence shared with CNBC.

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More than 100 former employees have formed a group they call “Vacation on Leave”. They are asking officials to pay them for the weeks and months they were approved before the job cuts were announced in January. Those who spoke with CNBC said they have been told they will receive standard severance pay as well as pay until their scheduled termination date.

Group of ex-employees has sent a letter to the executives including the CEO sundar pichai and Chief Public Officer Fiona Ciccioni, on three separate occasions, most recently on March 9, without receiving a response. The group includes those who were approved or are currently on maternity leave, baby bonding leave, carer leave, medical leave and personal leave.

At the beginning of last year, Google announced that it would extending parental leave 18 weeks for all parents and 24 weeks for birth parents for full-time employees. Cicconi said at the time that the company wanted to offer “extraordinary benefits” so that employees could “spend more time with their new baby, care for a sick loved one or take care of their own well-being.”

But Google parent Alphabet has since entered the most severe era of cost-cutting in its nearly two decades on the public market. The company said in January that it was eliminate 12,000 jobsRepresents about 6% of its workforce with slow sales growth after an extended period of expansion in the tech sector.

Pichai said that US-based employees will receive 16 weeks of severance pay and two weeks of pay for each additional year they work at Google. The company also said it would include paid time off in severance.

Those who were placed on medical leave are urging Pichai and other leaders to provide immediate clarity on the matter because of an upcoming deadline: official severance terms are expected by March 31.

The Leave on Leave group sent its first email to executives in January, and shared specific examples of Google employees who were affected by job cuts during their previously approved leave.

One woman said she was fired from her job a week after her maternity leave was approved. Another said she received the notice while on maternity leave, a week before she was due to give birth.

Few discussed the matter publicly.

A Google program manager, “Just a week after receiving the text and sharing the exciting news that my maternity leave was approved, I received the already widely discussed email letting me know that I was among the 12k terminates.” was one of the wrote on linkedin. “Easy target? Maybe.”

Another longtime employee, Kate Howells, Posted that she gave birth just before receiving the notice.

Howells wrote, “At 7:05 a.m. on 1/20/23 as I lay in a hospital bed holding my hours-long newborn, I learned I was part of #thegolden12K of Googlers who were eliminated Was.” “I was a Googler for 9.5 years.”

A Google spokesperson told CNBC in an email that departing employees are eligible for stock and pay for their “60+ day notice period” plus 16 weeks of pay and an additional two weeks for each year of service. I repeated Pichai’s memo.

The company did not say whether full medical leave would be covered on top of the severance pay.

“As we have shared with affected employees, we have benchmarked this package to ensure that we are providing care comparable to other companies, including Googlers on leave,” the spokesperson said.

‘good faith effort’

Several people whose jobs were terminated told CNBC that their access to doctors and specialists through Google’s on-site One Medical facility was also cut off on the day of the layoff notification. That interrupted ongoing treatment, he said. A laid-off senior software engineer said he personally lost contact with his primary care physician of three years.

Some former employees said they were given the option of continuing to see their doctors virtually, but were otherwise advised to find replacements.

The group of fired workers highlighted the fact that this is happening during Women’s History Month.

“Google is currently showcasing its workplace commitments and its involvement in Women’s History Month through campaigns for a variety of products and services,” the group wrote in an email sent to Google executives. We agree with you: it’s very important To recognize the difficulties that still disproportionately affect women inside the workplace.”

Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at a panel at the Americas CEO Summit hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce on June 09, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.

Anna Moneymaker | Getty Images

He added that the company still has an opportunity to fix the problem.

“We respectfully request a good faith effort to honor the terms of our original parental and/or disability leave arrangements for all leave approved through January 20, 2023,” the group wrote.

In January, at an informal event organized by Google alumni group Xoogler, more than 50 fired employees gathered for mutual comfort and to find answers. Kushagra Srivastava, one of the organizers, recalled to CNBC the story of a mother who told the event that she was “fired while trying to take care of a three-month-old baby, and it was very hard to hear “

It’s not just new moms and those who are soon expecting find themselves in a bind. The email to management also noted challenges faced by pregnant women who had not yet formally requested a leave of absence and, as a result, “at the points they are in their pregnancy, they may need to transition to new roles.” There is still a long way to go to achieve that.”

At a new employer, those women would have to wait a year for benefits from the Family and Medical Leave Act, “making it impossible for expectant and new moms to take advantage of the FMLA, which they paid for in damages to their health and well-being.” well being of their child,” the group said. “Parental and medical leave place an extraordinary burden on laid-off Googlers’ ability to immediately seek new employment.”

group letter pointed to companies like Amazonwho said they would make payment Vacation time other than severance package.

Employees who attempted to communicate with Google about the matter said they had lost access to internal systems and could only fill out a form on a separate ephemeral portal. Some said they received responses a week after their inquiries, and each said they received what appeared to be an automated response, repeating the expiration date of their employment or asking them to reapply for another position. give instructions.

In an email to CNBC, the group of fired employees said Pichai was showing too much concern to ramp up the company’s efforts. battle for artificial intelligence supremacy Instead it was to take care of long working employees who needed help.

“When Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced the layoffs, he mentioned three times the company’s commitment to AI, but never once Google’s commitment to accessibility,” the group wrote. This matters deeply because accessibility is part of the company’s true mission. It clearly calls for re-focusing of priorities. It is not surprising that through a messed up demo Just days after we were laid off, Google showed they really aren’t moving forward in AI. The good news, however, is that there remains an incredible opportunity to become an accessibility leader in the treatment of laid-off employees.”

quality time with baby

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