Google sign inside a yellow-lit office.
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Google staff may have to return to country of employment by end of year

30 Sep 2020

A significant number of Google staff left Ireland and other work locations as a result of Covid-19, but now the company reportedly wants them to return to the country where they’re employed.

Following Google’s decision to ask all but essential staff to work from home as a result of Covid-19, many of its international employees based in Ireland decided to work remotely from other countries.

Now, according to Bloomberg, Google’s parent company Alphabet has advised staff employed in Ireland and other locations across the world to return to the country of their employment by the end of the year. A person familiar with the arrangement said that while the temporary policy of letting staff move abroad and work remotely is coming to an end, Alphabet may allow leniency in high-risk areas.

In Ireland, Davy analyst Colin Grant estimated that 30pc of Google Ireland’s 7,000 staff had left Ireland once Google closed its offices in March. Grant said that these employees have now been asked to return “partly due to tax and legal reasons”.

However, a source speaking with Bloomberg claimed the figure of 30pc was significantly higher than the actual number.

A potential hybrid future

Speaking earlier this month, Google CFO Ruth Porat said that while she thinks employees working together in person is essential to innovation, she understands that the pandemic will change the future of work. Instead, she expects a hybrid model where employees will do both remote working and in-office work.

Google recently cancelled plans to expand its footprint in Dublin’s Silicon Docks with an office development for 2,000 employees. A spokesperson said that the decision came after “much deliberation” and that the company was still committed to staying in Ireland.

Despite reportedly asking its employees to return to their base of operations, Google said in July that staff won’t be expected to return to the office until at least July 2021. The decision affects nearly all of Alphabet and Google’s 200,000 full-time and contract employees.

The company had originally announced its intention to return to the office in July this year, but as the global health crisis evolved it decided to cancel those plans.

Colm Gorey
By Colm Gorey

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic. He joined in January 2014 and covered AI, IoT, science and anything that will get us to Mars quicker. When not trying to get his hands on the latest gaming release, he can be found lost in a sea of Wikipedia articles on obscure historic battles and countries that don't exist any more, or watching classic Simpsons episodes far too many times to count.

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