Google announced that it is establishing a COVID-19 fund that will enable all of their temporary staff and vendors, globally, to take paid sick leave if they have potential symptoms of COVID-19. It is also for temporary staff who can’t come into work because they are quarantined.
Most members of our extended workforce around the world (like the vendors who provide important campus services or the temporary staff who work on short-term projects) have sick leave benefits, whether through required government benefits or from their employers.
But this is not universal, For example, the United States does not have federal laws mandating sick leave. Last year, we introduced new requirements for all companies that employ U.S. vendors and temporary staff assigned to Google, making it mandatory for them to provide their employees with sick leave (in addition to other minimum benefits required), in order to do business with Google. This is rolling out to employees.
In addition, Google committed last week that members of their extended workforce who are affected by reduced office schedules (such as closed cafes) would be compensated for the time they would have worked. Google’s COVID-19 fund will cover their commitment relating to reduced office schedules.
It is great that Google is giving is workers – including temporary workers – paid sick leave. Too many companies in the United States refuse to offer that to their workers. This causes workers who are sick to come into the office anyway because they cannot afford to lose the money they would earn by working those hours. We simply cannot have that happen while COVID-19 is spreading.
I also notice that Google (and, possibly other companies) is stepping in and providing the paid sick leave that every worker should have. The United States government should take a lesson from this, and mandate paid sick leave nationwide. It is the best way to prevent the spread of illnesses.