Google Employees Get Awesome Benefits on Both Sides of the River Styx

    August 9, 2012
    Josh Wolford
    Comments are off for this post.

It’s common knowledge that it’s pretty awesome to work for Google. They’ve received a substantial amount of publicity for their top-notch employee benefits, which extend far beyond great health coverage and a great work environment.

But did you know that Google cares for their employees even when they’re no longer Google employees? No I don’t mean when they get fired, or quit. I mean when they’re six feet under.

In an interview with Forbes, Google’s Chief People Officer Laszlo Bock revealed a never-before-heard-of perk of working for the search giant: Death benefits.

If you are a Google employee and happen to meet your end, your spouse or domestic partner will continue to receive 50% of your salary for an entire decade. Not only that, but there’s no tenure requirement to be eligible for this perk. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been working for the company, you’ll receive the same death benefit as everyone else. That’s a big commitment to Google’s 34,000-odd employees.

Like I said before, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn of another awesome perk handed out by the folks at Google. But this one, which has no real benefit for Google the company, is pretty amazing.

Here are some other perks that Google employees enjoy, you know, if you’re job hunting or something:

  • Fun stuff around the office, including bocce ball courts, bowling alleys, and a giant climbing wall
  • Free gourmet food
  • On-site medical care
  • Travel insurance, even for personal vacations
  • Paid maternity leave, for moms and dads (18 weeks & 6 weeks, respectively)
  • Reimbursement for classes and degree programs completed while an employee
  • Free legal advice and low-cost legal representation
  • Occasional product giveaways, like customized Galaxy Nexus smartphones

Plus, Google’s on the cutting edge when it comes to benefits for LGBT employees and their partners. Earlier this year, they expanded their transgender benefits to include coverage of procedures like facial feminization and pectoral implants.

It’s nice to hear that Google takes care of their own in life and in death.

[Image Courtesy]

  • http://www.placestoeatokay.com Steve G

    The death benefits is a breath of fresh air, as most corporations simply take out life insurance policies on their employees and when they die they don’t give their families a dime. So I’m sure the money doesn’t come out of Google’s pocket if an employee dies, but at least they’re sharing that insurance money with the families of the deceased instead of like Wal-Mart who routinely takes out life insurance policies on even it’s low level employees, and won’t share a dime when they collect.

  • http://futurepharmaceutical.org/ Adel

    Future Pharmaceutical Company

  • Nick

    Not sure where I stand with this one. It is a step in the right direction, but it sounds like it is essentially a Term Life plan. Most companies (like WalMart) who have done this in the past have used COLI Policies, or Corporate Owned Life Insurance Policies (also referred to as “Dead Peasant” policies. No Joke). After the WalMart scandal, when it came to light that they were essentially claiming insurable interest for ridiculous amounts of money (often WAY more than the employees were ever paid) in employees that hadn’t been employed by WalMart for years, the IRS limited the Tax incentives and tightened up the legislation a bit. So it’s not uncommon, now, for companies to look to other forms of coverage to achieve the same results.
    Term Life Insurance policies are most likely the kind of policies that Google is writing on their employees as they are assignable to a “Term” or period of time…such as the length of your employment. The other reason I think Google might have opted for this coverage is because it is the absolute cheapest form of life insurance one can acquire. Also, in a term life policy, once you are eligible for coverage the policy pays out the full amount. So that would actually explain how they could offer a person in their first week of employment the same benefits as a 10 year veteran…because the policy pays the same amount on day one as it does in 2o years. The reduced costs of the premiums being paid for a Term Life policy as opposed to a Whole Life, or a COLI, would still allow Google to cover an employee for a massive amount of money (some companies have insured employees for over 1000% of their cumulative income while employed with the company).
    If you work for Google and you make an annual Salary of $100,000 for a period of ten years, your total cumulative pay was $1,000,000. If Google could establish enough insurable interest, not only in your loss in regards to expenses and costs associated with hiring, training, and employing you; but in the same costs associated with furnishing your replacement – it’s feasible that the amount of your policy could be upwards of $10,000,000.
    In a situation where Google pays premium during your employment and, as the policyowner, adds the company as the primary beneficiary, and the Insured’s significant other as the secondary beneficiary…they still stand to profit in a HUGE way from your death. Your Wife/Husband/Partner might receive $50,000 a year for ten years ($500,000). But Google would stand to gain the balance ($10,000,000) minus $500,000, or $9,500,000.
    Even if Google only managed to cover you for half that amount, they are still looking at a $4,500,000 benefit payment ($5,000,000 balance minus $500,000 to secondary beneficiary).
    Of course, since these are considered Death Benefits, Google would not be taxed on this income until the policy matures (employee dies), but as long as they pay their premium, they CAN borrow against the balance, tax free. And since the liklyhood of an employee dying is extremely low, particularly in the younger demographic that Google generally employs, they are essentially creating a line of credit in your name which they can borrow against, tax free, for business transactions, stock trades, acquisitions, you name it. In addition to the balance of the policy, they might make another million in other business by borrowing against that policy. If the employee survives, and leaves Google, the company buys out the policy at the face value, taking a slight hit up front, but hopefully, having borrowed against the amount for the past ten years, made a nice little profit.
    If you consider this scenario, it’s still exploitation at the expense of your employees. It’s still a tactic they are using to keep more of their dollars from the IRS. The %50 is a payoff in order to avoid negative PR. This is cost offset…nothing more. Yay, Google…way to lube your employees up a little before you slip a roofie in their PBR and start passing them around the frat house.

  • Jojo