Google tells employees to take Friday off as a ‘collective wellbeing’ holiday during pandemic

Google is giving employees another day off to avoid burnout as the Covid-19 Pandemic enters its seventh month.

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The company is marking Friday as a one-time paid holiday for “collective wellbeing” that applies to full-time employees and interns, according to documents viewed by CNBC. The added off day turns the Labor Day holiday into a four-day weekend.

“We strongly encourage you to take this day off — and managers should actively support their team to reprioritize work commitments in order to do so,” an internal forum for employees says. “If your manager identifies an urgent business-critical need that requires you to work at the last minute, you should take the next available working day off instead.”

Google tells employees to take Friday off as a ‘collective wellbeing’ holiday during pandemic
Google tells employees to take Friday off as a ‘collective wellbeing’ holiday during pandemic

The company’s note comes as executives try to find ways to support employees who will be working remotely until at least mid-2021. Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai called for a day off earlier in the summer. Since then, the country has faced heightened social and political tensions and California has recently been plagued by wildfires. Last month, Pichai sent a note to employees telling them to sign up for an internal emergency alert system as fires blazed across the state.

Workers who are considered temporary or are vendors or contractors don’t qualify for the day off on Friday. Their actual employer would have to make that determination, the documents say. The contingent workforce makes up roughly half of Google’s overall workforce.

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Some support teams will not be able to take the day off so they can respond to customer needs, but those groups are “exploring something similar,” one internal note read.

Google said the holiday is tied to the pandemic and won’t be added to the annual calendar.

“This extra holiday is specific to 2020 to support Googlers’ wellbeing in light of Covid-19,” the company said. “Please take the time to do whatever you need for yourselves.”

In an internal message chain, some employees said they’d prefer to take off another day. The company said that’s not an option.

“We’d like you to take this time off together as one team to better allow for detachment as a global community,” Google said.

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If employees already booked the time off for vacation, the company advised them to cancel the request for that day and reschedule to “take advantage of this additional holiday.”

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