Google may cut pay of staff if they work remotely.
The tech giant has developed a salary calculator that allows employees to estimate the consequences of working remotely or moving to another office.
Some remote employees, especially those who have to commute long distances, may see their pay decrease without a change of address.
Google has no plans to implement this policy in the United Kingdom at this time.
Employees at many companies have proven that working from home all the time is quite viable during the Covid pandemic.
Many companies are looking forward to seeing how employees will work when the pandemic recedes, even as the U.S. continues to fight the delta variant of the disease.
Silicon Valley companies, some of which are eager to get employees back to their desks, are experimenting with pay structures.
Large tech companies, including Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter, are offering lower wages to employees who work in places where living costs are cheaper.
But smaller companies, such as Reddit and Zillow, have said they will pay the same regardless of where employees live, claiming it improves diversity.
A Google spokesman said: “Our compensation packages have always been driven by location, and we always pay at the top end of the local market, depending on where the employee is working from.
Our new Place to Work tool was designed to help employees make an informed decision about what city or state they work in and how that will affect compensation if they decide to move or work remotely.”
One Google employee who works in Seattle but commutes two hours to get there told Reuters that his salary would drop by 10 percent if he decided to work from home full-time.
“It’s the same pay cut I got for my last promotion,” the employee said. “I didn’t work so hard to get a raise and then get a pay cut.”
Jake Rosenfeld, a sociology professor at Washington University in St. Louis, said Google’s move raises concerns about who will feel the effects most acutely, including families.
“It’s pretty clear that Google doesn’t have to do this,” Professor Rosenfeld said. “Google is paying these employees 100% of their former salary, by definition. So it’s not like they can’t afford to pay their employees who choose to work remotely as much as they used to get.”
A Google employee in Stamford, Connecticut, which is an hour from New York City by train, was paid 15% less while working remotely, and in Seattle, Boston and San Francisco the difference was 5% and 10%.
Google won’t change employees’ salaries if they work entirely remotely from the same city.
Some companies, such as U.S. tech giant Cisco, have instituted a hybrid work plan that does not mandate how often employees visit the office.
Cisco expects that less than a quarter of its employees will want to be in the office three or more days a week.
But other companies, such as Goldman Sachs, want employees to return to the offices.
Investment bank boss David Solomon said in February that working from home is an “aberration,” not the “new normal.”