Is Google Sick of Perk-Addled Employees?

Google wants to increase the cost of its in-house day-care services. Employees are grieved.

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Google wears a halo with this country's workers—the Internet giant is the most-wanted employer among younger generations. The company feeds its employers free organic food and offers on-site oil changes! But there are some hiccups in the perks parade.

The New York Times reports that the company has been polling employees to gather opinions on a proposed 75 percent hike in costs for Google-subsidized day-care services: "Parents who had been paying $1,425 a month for infant care would see their costs rise to nearly $2,500—well above the market rate."

Parents, reportedly, wept openly upon hearing the news. But Google has not given in:

Although Google is rolling back its price increase slightly and is phasing in the higher price over five quarters, the outline of the original decision remains largely unchanged. At a T.G.I.F. in June, the Google co-founder Sergey Brin said he had no sympathy for the parents, and that he was tired of "Googlers" who felt entitled to perks like "bottled water and M&Ms," according to several people in the meeting. (A Google spokesman denies that Mr. Brin made that comment.) On Monday, Google began the first phase of its new day care plan, letting go of the outside day care firm it had been using.

Of course, Google's day care has been crème de la crème, with very low teacher/student ratios and fancy curriculums. The high prices may cut down on the company's two-year day-care waiting list, the newspaper reports. It will also cut down on something else:

Meanwhile, someone at Google woke up one day and realized that the company was subsidizing each child to the tune of $37,000 a year—which nobody had noticed up until then—compared with the $12,000-a-year average subsidy of other big Silicon Valley companies like Cisco Systems and Oracle.


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