And you thought the free food was Google's biggest perk?

Turns out that if you die, the company will pay your spouse 50 percent of your annual salary for a decade -- and that's for starters.

A shot of a building at Google's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters. James Martin/CNET
A couple of amazing takeaways from Forbes' interview with Google Chief People Officer Lazlo Bock -- gotta love the title -- the company offers "death benefits" and, on an unrelated (but altogether convenient) note, the oldest Googler happens to be 83.

Explaining the company's policy, Bock said that when someone dies while in Google's employ, the company cuts a check for 50 percent of that staffer's annual salary to the surviving spouse or domestic partner for the next decade. The company will also immediately vest whatever stock holdings were granted, and the couple's children receive a $1,000 monthly payment until the age of 19 (or 23 if the child is a full-time student).

One of the things we realized recently was that one of the harshest but most reliable facts of life is that at some point most of us will be confronted with the death of our partners," Bock says. "And it's a horrible, difficult time no matter what, and every time we went through this as a company we tried to find ways to help the surviving spouse of the Googler who'd passed away."

No word yet on the identity or job of the aforesaid 83-year-old. We've contacted Google for comment and will update the story when the company gets back to us.
About the author

Charles Cooper was an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet.


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