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Google stops paying remaining maternity, medical leave for sacked workers

Google is reportedly informing ex-staffers who were laid off while on maternity and medical leave that they will not be paid for their remaining time off. This news has caused more than 100 former workers to organize a group called “Laid off on Leave,” where they are asking executives to compensate them for the weeks and months that they were already approved for before the job cuts were announced back in January.

According to former employees and written correspondence shared with CNBC, the tech giant has said that they will only receive payment through their designated end date and standard severance.

The group of former employees has sent three letters to executives, including CEO Sundar Pichai and Chief People Officer Fiona Cicconi, but has not received a response. The group includes individuals who were approved for or are currently on maternity leave, baby bonding leave, caregiver’s leave, medical leave, and personal leave.

Last year, Google announced that it would increase parental leave for full-time employees to 18 weeks for all parents and 24 weeks for birth parents, and Cicconi stated that the company wanted to offer “extraordinary benefits” so employees could “spend more time with their new baby, look after a sick loved one or take care of their own well-being.”

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has recently undergone its most severe cost-cutting period in nearly two decades on the public market. The company announced in January that it was eliminating 12,000 jobs, which represents about 6 per cent of its workforce, to address slowing sales growth following an extended period of expansion in the tech sector.

Pichai stated that US-based employees would receive 16 weeks of severance pay, plus two weeks for each additional year they worked at Google, and the company would also include paid time off in the severance. Former employees who were laid off while on medical leave are urging Google CEO Sundar Pichai and other leaders to provide immediate clarification on the matter as official severance terms are expected to be released by March 31.

The Laid off on Leave group sent its first email to executives in January, providing specific examples of Google employees impacted by the job cuts while on their previously approved leave. One woman stated that she was laid off a week after her maternity leave was approved, while another received notice while on maternity leave, one week before she was due to give birth.

“Exactly a week after receiving the text and sharing the exciting news that my maternity leave was approved, I got the already widely talked-about email letting me know that I was among the 12k terminated on yesterday. Easy target? Maybe.,” an ex-employee said in a post on their LinkedIn.

Another woman who worked with Google for over nice years wrote about her experience on LinkedIn saying, “Laid off in labour, now that’s something I never thought I’d say! Last Thursday, 1/19/23 I gave birth to my second child, Ronin Mark Watson, at 8:59 pm. On 1/20/23 at 7:05 am while in the hospital bed holding my hours-old newborn I learned that I was part of the #thegolden12K of Googlers who had been laid off. I was a Googler for 9.5 years.” BusinessToday

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