Google will require temporary and contracted workers in the US to receive full benefits from the agencies it works with, according to an internal memo provided exclusively to The Hill.
Google’s vice president of people operations, Eileen Naughton, said in the memo that it will require that workers assigned to the company through third-party firms receive the benefits by 2022; the benefits mandate does not apply to independent contractors, who are self-employed.
Suppliers that fail to offer healthcare, minimum wage and paid family leave to their employees by the deadlines will no longer “be able to provide talent to Google,” a spokesperson told The Hill.
The Tech Workers Coalition, which works with existing movements for social justice, workers’ rights, and economic inclusion, praised the news, but criticized the delayed implementation. “Today @google informed [temps, vendors and contractors, or TVCs] of a change in policy in how they will be treated. These changes matter, and they came about because of months and years of organizing by Google workers — FTE and TVC alike,” the group tweeted. “However, details matter too. The $15 minimum wage requirement doesn’t come into effect til 2020 and health benefits not til 2022. Changes announced today apply to no one working right now — but workers can’t wait years to pay rent, see doctors and care for their families.”
The news follows the publication of an article by The Guardian that said more than 900 Google workers signed a letter objecting to the company’s treatment of temporary contractors, in what organizers are calling a “historical coalition” between Google’s full-time employees, or FTEs, and temps, vendors and contractors, or TVCs.
Last month, Google abruptly shortened the contracts of 34 temp workers on the “personality” team for the search giant’s digital assistant, Google Assistant. Google informed them that their contracts were ending ahead of schedule, either on April 5 or, in a few cases, on July 31. According to the workers’ letter, TVCs comprise 54% of Google’s global workforce, and more than half of the people on the personality team. The cuts revived the debate over Google’s extensive use of temps, vendors and contractors.
Last year, Google contract workers sent a letter to CEO Sundar Pichai in which they demanded equal treatment and better compensation.
In December 2018, a leaked internal training document seen by The Guardian showed how Google employees are trained to treat TVCs including being instructed not to reward certain workers with perks, invite them to all-hands meetings, or allow them to engage in professional development training.