Google has advised all employees in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa to work from home starting March 12th, expanding a recommendation sent Tuesday to North America-based employees to work from home until at least April 10th, Business Insider reported. Google confirmed to the The Verge that it has indeed sent this recommendation to its employees. Google had previously told employees in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dublin, and Seattle to work from home.
Google’s North America offices will remain open to workers if they have to be physically present for their job, according to Business Insider, and that guidance will also apply to its offices in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, Google confirmed to The Verge.
Guidance for offices in Asia varies by site and region, though precedes the move to ask North American employees to work from home, Google tells The Verge. The company temporarily shut down its China offices at the end of January.
CEO Sundar Pichai urged people to “contribute” to social distancing in a Tuesday evening tweet:
Contributing to social distancing if you are able to, helps the overall community spread and most importantly, will help offset the peak loads through critical healthcare systems and also saves it for people in need. (based on expert advice). Please contribute if you are able to https://t.co/RNUh2kSyIJ— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) March 10, 2020
On Sunday, Apple CEO Tim Cook encouraged employees at several of its global offices to work remotely “if your job allows” from March 9th to 13th. And by the end of last week, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and many other tech companies asked their employees in the Bay Area and Seattle to work from home.
Google will also give its temporary staff and vendors around the world paid sick leave if they have to take time off because of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, through a new fund announced today. “This fund will mean that members of our extended workforce will be compensated for their normal working hours” if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or are quarantined, the company said in a blog post. Last Friday, Google confirmed it would give its hourly workers their regular pay if they had to miss work due to coronavirus.
Update March 11th, 3:24PM ET: Added that the work from home request has been extended to Google’s employees in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.