It has been recently revealed that Google has been illegally underpaying its workers across many countries during the past two years.
Local laws in UK, Europe and Asia demand that temporary workers be paid similar to permanent workers for the same work. Google did not comply with these laws and kept underpaying temporary workers since May 2019.
But rather than immediately correct the errors, the company dragged its feet for more than two years, the documents show, citing concern about the increased cost to departments that rely heavily on temporary workers, potential exposure to legal claims, and fear of negative press attention.
Google admitted the failures and said it would conduct an investigation.
“While the team hasn’t increased the comparator rate benchmarks for some years, actual pay rates for temporary staff have increased numerous times in that period,” said Spyro Karetsos, Google’s chief compliance officer, in a statement. “Most temporary staff are paid significantly more than the comparator rates.
“Nevertheless, it’s clear that this process has not been handled consistent with the high standards to which we hold ourselves as a company. We’re doing a thorough review, and we’re committed to identifying and addressing any pay discrepancies that the team has not already addressed.
“And we’ll be conducting a review of our compliance practices in this area. In short, we’re going to figure out what went wrong here, why it happened, and we’re going to make it right.”
Given the high turnover rate of temporary workers, the number of workers affected by Google’s failure could be in the tens of thousands. One document shows that, as of 16 February 2021, Google had 1,030 temporary workers in countries with pay parity laws, the largest numbers in the UK (343), India (222), Ireland (207) and Germany (59).