Google picks up the tab of dead employees

by Elizabeth Barnard10 Aug 2012

It seems barely a week goes by without Google hitting the headlines with new tales of its employee benefits. Free lunch, flexibility and every possible desire being granted aside – now it’s emerged that the perks aren’t limited to the living.

Google’s chief people officer Laszlo Bock has now revealed that its “death benefits” scheme means that should an employee die whilst employed by the search engine, their spouse will receive 50% of their partner’s salary for 10 years. Yes, a full decade. Most notably, there are no minimum accruement periods or tenure requirements in order to receive the benefits.

“One of the things we realised 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 commented to Forbes this week. “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,” he added.

The death benefits were reportedly implemented in 2011 but they have only recently come to light in the public sphere. Along with 50% of their partner's salary for a decade, the package also affords spousal access to their partner's shares in the company, and if the couple have children, they will receive $1,000 a month until the age of 19, or 23 if the child is a full-time student. “When we think about [employee] needs at Google, we think less about how old you are that we do about your particular cluster of needs,” Bock said. “For someone who fits a certain profile—say, an aging parent to take care of, or kids or grandkids to support – whatever your cluster of needs are, we do our best to discern the best package of perks and programs to meet them.”

However, it’s currently unconfirmed as to whether Aussie Googler’s receive the same death benefits.


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