Google asks workers who went abroad for Covid to return


A person walks into a building at the Google campus in Mountain View, California. During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Google allowed some of its staff to move abroad for personal reasons, such as returning to their home country, and continue working remotely. That policy is now coming to an end, but may be open to review in high-risk areas, the person said. — Bloomberg

Alphabet Inc’s Google advised workers companywide to return to the country where they’re employed by the end of the year, according to a person familiar with the matter.

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Mountain View, California-based company allowed some of its staff to move abroad for personal reasons, such as returning to their home country, and continue working remotely. That policy is now coming to an end, but may be open to review in high-risk areas, the person said, asking not to be identified because the policy is private.

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.

Google was one of the first major corporations to tell employees to work from home when the coronavirus began spreading in March. It said in July that it will let employees do their jobs remotely for another year, pushing back plans to re-open offices. The company had previously said workers could stay home until the end of this year.

In Ireland, Google’s European headquarters, many technology employees who temporarily left the country during the worst of the pandemic “have been asked to return by year-end, partly due to tax and legal reasons”, said Colin Grant, an analyst at Irish securities firm Davy, in a note on Tuesday.

Grant estimated as many as 30% of Google’s 7,000-strong Irish workforce had left during the pandemic. A person familiar with the matter said that figure is far too high.

Alphabet’s chief financial officer Ruth Porat said earlier this month that while employees working together in person is key to fostering innovation, the Covid-19 pandemic will inevitably change the nature of work.

Other major tech companies, including Facebook Inc and Amazon.com Inc have also said corporate employees can stay home until at least the beginning of 2021. – Bloomberg

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