Google has announced that all of its staff will be given an additional bonus this year in recognition of the challenges faced by the pandemic.
It isn't the first bonus that employees have received due to the pandemic – staff received an additional $500 earlier in the year after an internal survey found wellbeing was low among Google workers.
The news comes as Google announced that it is pushing back its return to office date, due to the rise of the omicron variant, continuing to rely on a remote workforce.
Pay Bonus for Google Staff
Speaking to Reuters, a company spokesperson for Google stated that all of its global staff, including its extended workforce and interns, will be awarded a bonus of $1,600 (or equivalent value in their territory). The money will be released in December.
The bonus comes in addition to a $500 award that staff received earlier in the year, which it dubbed a ‘wellbeing bonus'. This was awarded after an internal staff survey discovered that wellbeing among employees was low.
Google's Return to the Office
Google, like many other companies, has delayed its return to the office, given the recent increase in omicron cases globally. Originally it had planned for workers to return on the 10th of January, but this date has now been pushed back, with no new date given.
It's a pattern we're likely to see repeated across the globe, with many governments advising a return to working from home, most recently the UK, which will be implementing this come Monday. While the US government did recently announce new measures to combat further Covid cases, including boosters for all adults and expanding free at-home testing, it hasn't given any recommendations that Americans should work from home.
Other companies have also delayed getting back to the office. Microsoft announced that it was putting plans on ice indefinitely, back in September. Earlier this week, Meta (Facebook's parent company), told staff that offices would be opening back up in January, but that staff could catty on working from home until June.
Google's Pandemic Response
The news of this bonus is one that will surely be welcomed by staff, but Google hasn't had the smoothest ride through the pandemic.
Earlier in the year, the company ran into criticism at the revelation that staff who choose to work remotely could well be paid less, depending on location. A calculator on the company's internal site allowed staff to find out how much of a hit their salary would take based on their location.
Embarrassingly for Google, the news came at the same time as the announcement that Urs Hölzle, a long-term member of the company and senior vice president of technical infrastructure, would be leaving the San Francisco office for New Zealand, where he would be working remotely. The news was considered by many staff as preferential treatment.
The company has also faced further internal resistance to back to office plans in the last few weeks, with at least 600 Google employees signing a letter that opposed a mandatory vaccine mandate.