Google staff could see pay cut if they opt to work from home

 Facebook and Twitter have already cut pay for remote employees who moved to less expensive areas
Google staff could see pay cut if they opt to work from home

 Google's office in Mountain View, California.

Google employees based in the same office before the pandemic could see different changes in pay if they switch to working from home permanently, with long commuters hit harder, according to a company pay calculator seen by Reuters.

It is an experiment taking place across Silicon Valley, which often sets trends for other large employers.

Facebook and Twitter cut pay for remote employees who moved to less expensive areas. However, Google’s pay calculator tool – which allows staff to see the effects of a move – suggests remote employees, especially long-distance commuters, could experience pay cuts without moving.

A Google spokesperson said: “Our compensation packages have always been determined by location, and we always pay at the top of the local market based on where an employee works from,”, adding that pay will differ from city to city and state to state.

Smaller companies including Reddit and Zillow have shifted to location-agnostic pay models, citing advantages when it comes to hiring, retention and diversity.

One Google employee, who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation, typically commutes to the Seattle office from a nearby county and would likely see their pay cut by about 10% by working from home full-time, according to estimates by the company’s Work Location Tool launched in June.

The employee was considering remote work but decided to keep going to the office – despite the two-hour commute. “It’s as high of a pay cut as I got for my most recent promotion. I didn’t do all that hard work to get promoted to then take a pay cut,” they said.

Jake Rosenfeld, a sociology professor at Washington University in St Louis who researches pay determination, said Google’s pay structure raises alarms about who will feel the impacts most acutely, including families.

“What’s clear is that Google doesn’t have to do this,” Rosenfeld said. 

“Google has paid these workers at 100% of their prior wage, by definition. So it’s not like they can’t afford to pay their workers who choose to work remotely the same that they are used to receiving.” 

- Reuters

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