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COVID 19 impact: Google tells employees they can't expense food while working from home, says report

Google has updated its set of policies for employees working from home. It announced that the employees cannot use their budgets for anything other than the original purpose.

twitter-logoYasmin Ahmed | May 7, 2020 | Updated 13:44 IST

Highlights

  • A report states that Google has directed its employees not to expense food or gym costs.
  • The tech giant is known for the provision of free meals it offers its employees.
  • Google CFO, Ruth Porat, last week said that the second quarter is expected to to be a difficult one.

There is no such thing as a free lunch and Google employees would agree. The tech giant announced that its employees cannot expense food or gym costs even if they have extra money left, a report by CNBC stated.

Google is often praised and known for the free meals it gives its employees. However, because of the pandemic, that provision will be changed.

The company reportedly updated its policy stating employees cannot expense perks while they are working from home. These perks would include food, fitness, home office furniture, decoration, or gifts.

The policy also stated that Google employees cannot use unused budgets to do things like purchasing meals for themselves or people outside of their office.

Since a lot of events stood cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of travel money went unused. Google employees were strictly told that this money cannot be made use of. "The money cannot be used for anything outside their original purposes," a QandA by Google's blog stated.

The report noted Google saying "This includes sending snack boxes/gifts to Googlers or allowing teams to expense breakfast/lunch/dinner as part of virtual gatherings. These policies help ensure reporting and tax compliance, as well as consistency and fairness for Googlers across teams."

The budget can also not be used for charity, according to the company's policies.

"We know that Googlers are eager to give back to their communities and support COVID-19 relief efforts, but the Internal Events budget should not be donated to local charities/organizations," it said.

Google CFO, Ruth Porat, last week said that she expects the second quarter to be a difficult one.

Last month Google said that it was slashing its marketing budget by almost half of 2020. The company also implemented a hiring freeze in some areas of the company, a report by Business Insider stated.

Google CEO, Sundar Pichai said that work-from-home for Google's employees would go on till June 1.

"Everyone who is in a recommended or mandatory work-from-home status should assume that will continue until at least June 1, 2020," Pichai had said.

Last month, Pichai in an email to Google's employees had said that the company would slow its hiring process for the whole of 2020.

"The entire global economy is hurting, and Google and Alphabet are not immune to the effects of this global pandemic. We exist in an ecosystem of partnerships and interconnected businesses, many of whom are feeling significant pain," Pichai had written.

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