Google tells workers to return to country where they are employed

It is estimated 30% of 7,000-strong Irish workforce had left to work remotely

Google’s offices in Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Google’s offices in Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne


Alphabet has advised workers company wide to return to the country where they are employed by the end of the year, according to a person familiar with the matter.

In Ireland, Google’s European headquarters, many technology employees who temporarily left the country during the worst of the pandemic “have been asked to return by year end, partly due to tax and legal reasons”, said Colin Grant, an analyst at Irish securities firm Davy, in a note on Tuesday.

Mr Grant estimated that as many as 30 per cent of Google’s 7,000-strong Irish workforce had left during the pandemic. A person familiar with the matter said that figure is far too high.

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the company allowed some of its staff to move abroad for personal reasons, such as returning to their home country, where they continued working remotely.

That policy is now coming to an end, but may be open to review in high-risk areas, the person said, asking not to be identified because the policy is private.

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.

Google was one of the first major corporations to tell employees to work from home when coronavirus began spreading in March. It said in July that it would let employees do their jobs remotely for another year, pushing back plans to reopen offices. The company had previously said workers could stay home until the end of this year.

Alphabet’s chief financial officer, Ruth Porat, said earlier this month that, while employees working together in person was key to fostering innovation, the Covid-19 pandemic would inevitably change the nature of work.

Other major tech companies, including Facebook and Amazon, have also said corporate employees can stay home until at least the beginning of 2021. – Bloomberg