The “Death in Service Benefit” for Google Employees Sets Benchmark

Internet giant Google has always been a trendsetter and continues to set the benchmark in unexpected and surprising ways. One of the most incredible of all is its “Death in Service benefit,” which will continue to pay employees’ families for 10 years if any staff member passes away while employed by the tech giant.

The unprecedented perk means that Google will pay 50% of an employee’s final salary and bonuses for a decade to their chosen beneficiaries. It aims to ease families’ financial turmoil after losing a loved one.

If you were employed by Google, with a salary of £35,000, your spouse could expect £175,000 over 10 years if you passed away. If you had two children aged 10, your spouse could expect a further £216,000 – £312,000.

This would bring the total payout to £391,000 – £487,000. It is worth remembering, however, that whilst Google have the same philosophy in every place their Googlers work, the benefits may vary by office and/or country.

While death benefits are common in the corporate world, most last only one–five years. Google’s 10-year payout is a concept that experts say will inspire copycats and could possibly alter the financial dynamic of the corporate status quo and become the new norm.

With around 190,000 global staffers, the programme will not come cheap. But Google, famous for its cushy employee perks, says looking after its people is a priority.

The monthly payouts will be funded directly by Google rather than purchased from insurers. This gives the flexibility to customise the decade-long timeline, and UK-based Google employees will be enrolled automatically. They nominate beneficiaries, with no medical screenings required.

The benefit has no cash value to workers while alive. But it provides a major safety net for heirs struggling with funeral costs, debts and day-to-day expenses after a loved one dies.

While some financial experts argue a single lump sum may better serve grieving families with unique needs, Google says monthly instalments give beneficiaries stability and security during the turbulent economic times.

Insiders estimate Google’s generous gift to employees could cost over £100m annually. That’s no small change, even for a corporate giant worth nearly £1trillion. But Google sees nurturing its workforce as an investment – though shareholders may raise concerns.

Google’s chief people officer, Laszlo Bock, said: “One of the things we realised recently was that one of the harshest but most reliable facts of life is that at some point, most of us will be confronted with the death of our partners.”

And it’s a horrible, difficult time no matter what, and every time we went through this as a company, we tried to find ways to help the surviving spouse of the Googler who’d passed away.”

Silicon Valley is renowned for lavishing staff with unusual benefits like free massages, so Google’s latest move is part of a trend. Tech firms are finally realising what the rest of the world has always known. That financial security breeds loyalty and innovation.

For now, Google employees can rest assured their loved ones will be financially supported for the foreseeable future should the worst happen. Whether the rest of corporate Britain heeds Google’s example and follows suit remains to be seen. Only time will tell.

David Brewer, the CEO and co-founder of Protect Line said: “Google has always set the bar higher than most when it comes to corporate culture and the perks that it offers its staff, which helps to ensure that it attracts the best of the best to work for it and hopefully, perks like it’s “Death In Service benefit” will continue to inspire other companies to do the same.”