Google told full-time employees to work from home, but some Google temps and contractors say they still have to come into 'Petri dish' offices because the company won't give them remote access

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Google told full-time employees to work from home, but some Google temps and contractors say they still have to come into 'Petri dish' offices because the company won't give them remote access

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  • Google has instructed all full-time employees to start working from home as COVID-19 continues to spread.
  • But for the 135,000 temps and contractors who work at Google offices but are employed by 3rd parties, working from home is not an option.
  • Google does not allow its contractors to log on and access work remotely, making contractors choose between coming to Google's offices or forgoing work.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

As the novel coronavirus spreads, Google joined other major tech companies Tuesday by asking its employees to work from home to reduce the chance of transmission.

But the 135,000 temps and contractors who make up Google's "extended workforce" - but aren't full-time employees - don't have that option. That's because Google has a policy that prevents most contractors from logging on and accessing their work remotely.

The policy has led to anxiety and confusion among people who work at Google's offices but aren't full-time. In the wake of Google's work from home order, contractors told Business Insider's Rob Price that they were unsure whether to continue to come into the office, or what sick pay benefits would be available if they didn't.

Some Google contractors have continued to come into the office in order to keep doing their jobs, The Guardian's Julia Carrie Wong reported Thursday.

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"The FTEs [full-time employees] almost all seem to be heeding the recommendation to work from home, while we are sitting here in the Petri dish, with the choice of not getting paid, or maybe getting sick and then putting our family and friends at risk too," a contractor working in Google's Pittsburgh office told The Guardian.

In a statement to Business Insider, a Google spokesperson acknowledged that some contractors will have to come into the office in order to work, while others like temps and vendors may be able to work remotely if their work makes it possible and their employer approves.

"To serve our users and keep our products running, some work, performed by Google employees, temporary staff and vendors alike, can only be done by people physically present at offices," the spokesperson said. "We're taking all necessary and recommended precautions, including increased sanitation and social distancing, a public health best practice."

Google is one of many tech giants to instruct its employees to work remotely as COVID-19 spreads, along with Apple, Amazon, and Facebook.

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