For its latest employee perk, Google announced that it will help employees pay back student loans amid a debt crisis starting 2021.
In an internal email, John Casey, Google’s director of Global Benefits, said that Google employees with student loans will receive aid from the company. The tech giant will match up to $2,500 per full-time employee per year toward their student loan payments.
“College degrees are out of reach for too many people around the world, and the soaring student loan debt crisis has widened an already pervasive wealth gap, globally,” Casey said in an email. He explained that Americans struggle with a student loan deficit upward of $1.5 trillion dollars, which he noted is twice what it was a decade ago.
The new benefit for their employees will help students save more for buying a house or begin a family, Casey wrote in a blog post.
Google will implement the new benefit in the US first but will also make this happen in other countries. During the fourth quarter, the company will “collect additional information to inform the rollout,” Casey said in the email. “It gets complicated with different lenders country by country,” he noted.
According to Casey, the new perk is an expansion of its education reimbursements for employees. The company is working with Google’s employee resource groups Black Googler Network and Black Leadership Advisory Group, which he said helped them “get this done.”
“Because the burden of student loans weighs disproportionately on communities of color and women, this is a step toward building a more equitable Google too,” Casey said in his email.
Work-from-home set up
The tech giant announced in July that Google employees can work from home through June 2021.
“To give employees the ability to plan ahead, we are extending our global voluntary work from home option through June 30, 2021, for roles that don’t need to be in the office,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in an email to employees. The company had previously said Google employees may return to the office in January 2021.
The decision to allow Google employees to work from home will affect “nearly all” of the company’s 200,000 employees. These include contractors and full-time workers, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.
Another project announced by Google this year is its 100,000 scholarships and online certificate programs. It will also award over $10 million in grants to nonprofit organizations.
The Google scholarships 100,000 are need-based and offered to individuals enrolled in any of the tech giant’s career certificate programs.
According to Google, it will treat all of its certificates as the equivalent of a four-year college degree for relevant roles at the company.
“This is not revenue-generating for Google,” says Google vice president, Lisa Gevelber, who manages Grow with Google and Google for Startups and serves as the company’s Americas chief marketing officer. “There’s a small cost from the Coursera platform itself — the current pricing is $49 a month — but we want to ensure that anyone who wants to have this opportunity, can have it.”
Google will also award over $10 million in grants to YWCA, NPower and JFF. These are nonprofit groups that work with Google to offer workforce development to women, veterans, and underrepresented Americans.