Search giant Google has recently decided to add yet another perk for its employees. This is to give employees who are full-time as much as $2,500 per year to pay for student loans. This new initiative is a way for Google to compete with other companies in a time when many of the perks normally found inside of an office are unavailable because of the coronavirus pandemic. This offer comes after company representatives talked to a number of Black employee groups to help to rectify the problem of minorities being much more likely to have problems with paying for student loans.
This new program will begin in 2021 according to Google representatives, who verified the news by telling employees this past week. “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,” said John Casey, one of Google’s top ranking officials in charge of the initiative. This will be an effort to help with an already out of control student loan debt faced by Americans that has reached more than $1.5 trillion dollars.Read More »
Google has long been famous for its opulent and lavish offices full of employee perks. These perks have included free snacks, financial advice, and numerous services related to wellness. However, other tech companies have also offered more and more services like Google has, and the search giant is now looking to offer something the others are not. The fact that Silicon Valley and the Bay Area are one of the most expensive places in the United States also plays a factor when recruiting young talent.
The initiative is in direct partnership with two different resource groups available to employees of the company, Black Googler Network and Black Leadership Advisory Group. Casey claims these two groups helped to spearhead this initiative. Think tank the Roosevelt Institute have maintained that getting rid of student debt would bridge the gaps between white families and those of color, and is this is a great way for Google to help out in even a small way.
One thing to note is that this new perk does not include temp workers and contractors for the company, which would encompass about 130,000 people. Still, the program will be available to roughly 123,000 of Google’s full-time workers.
Google have done a few other things to help their current employees working from home during the pandemic as well as lure in future ones. This past April, the company added 8 more weeks of time-off to a policy that employees can use on things like taking care of family members. This gives current employees up to 14 weeks a year for time away from the office. Just a month after that, Google gave its employees $1,000 to spend on items for a makeshift home office.
The loan problem is a serious one felt by many people across the world. This huge amount of money owed for student loans amounts to roughly $200 to $300 per month on average for those in this situation. These numbers come courtesy of the Federal Reserve.
However, the pandemic has put a pause on student loan payments and this action was a big part of the initial $2 trillion CARES stimulus package passed in March. The pause of student loan payments was supposed to be effective through September but has since been extended through the end of the year. A number of student loans are not eligible for this pause, though, including those that are privately held.
This initiative does not make Google the first company to offer such a program. About 8% of businesses in the United States have some sort of offer to help with student loans, according to a study done by the Society for Human Resource Management. This percentage represents a number that is twice as great as it was as recently as 2018. This recent trend has even created a fairly significant amount of people whose job it is to make sure these loans are administered correctly by employers to their workers.
This is yet another example of the tech giant taking action to help those suffering through the pandemic. The company recently released an overlay onto its popular Google Maps apps on mobile devices to track hotspots of COVID-19 and have continued to launch new products for those stuck at home. The search leader has a hardware announcement coming later this week, too.
For anyone already qualified enough to work for the tech giant, the addition of several thousands of dollars per year to pay off student debt is certainly an enticing one. Google may be kickstarting a trend within Big Tech in offering this additional benefit to its employees, especially if they are still forced to work from home for the unforeseeable future.