Laid-off Google employees may not get paid out for approved maternity or medical leave as severance terms deadline looms

Laid-off Google employees may not get paid out for approved maternity or medical leave as severance terms deadline looms
Google announced in January that it was cutting 6% of its workforce, and those affected have been urging execs to take another look at their severance terms.Getty Images
  • Former Googlers are pleading with execs to compensate them for approved paid time off following mass layoffs, CNBC reported.
  • The "Laid off on Leave" group said they've sent three letters to CEO Sundar Pichai and company leaders.

Months after Google announced it was cutting about 6% of its workforce, laid-off employees say the company is refusing to pay out approved time off for those who were fired while on medical or maternity leave.

Over 100 former employers are asking Google parent company Alphabet to pay them for the time they'd been greenlit to take off prior to being laid off while on leave, CNBC reported. Those who spoke to the outlet said they were told they'll receive the standard severance package and pay through their designated end date, rather than the paid time off for which they'd been approved.

The impacted individuals have dubbed themselves the "Laid off on Leave" group, and told CNBC they sent Google execs a total of three letters since the January announcement that 12,000 jobs would be eliminated.

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"We respectfully request a good faith effort to honor the terms of our original parental and/or disability leave arrangements for all leaves that were approved as of January 20, 2023," an email to leadership read, per CNBC.

The most recent correspondence was sent last Thursday to several Alphabet execs — including CEO Sundar Pichai and Chief People Officer Fiona Cicconi — as the Laid off on Leave group prepares for the March 31 deadline of their official severance terms, according to CNBC.


In a statement to CNBC, a Google spokesperson emphasized the existing severance package mentioned in Pichai's January memo to staff. The package offers payment through the minimum 60-day notification period, at least 16 weeks of pay, and six months of healthcare, according to a copy of the memo obtained by Insider.

"As we shared with impacted employees, we benchmarked this package to ensure the care we're providing compares favorably with other companies, including for Googlers on leave," the spokesperson told CNBC.

Among those laid off while on parental leave was Austin-based recruiter Jane Elfenbein, who said in a LinkedIn post she was feeding her three-week-old baby at 4:30 a.m. when she learned she'd been fired. Others reported having their access to Google's on-site One Medical facility cut off the same day they were laid off.

In January 2022, Google increased its parental leave from 12 weeks to 18 weeks for all parents and 24 weeks for parents who give birth in an effort to support their employees "at every stage of their lives," Cicconi previously wrote in an email.

The Laid off on Leave group reiterated this notion in their letters to the C-suite execs, and referenced Google's original core value, "Don't be evil."


"Google formed their parental benefits with this in mind, emphasizing the need for parents to have time off to recover and bond with their new babies," the email to execs read, according to CNBC.

It continued: "Granting a payout of full remaining leave days for scheduled and upcoming leaves would be notably in line with Google's current policy of payment for accumulated employee vacation time (PTO) in this round of layoffs."