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Goldman Sachs scraps pandemic perks for its employees, including free lifts, breakfast and lunch

Goldman Sachs scraps pandemic perks for its employees, including free lifts, breakfast and lunch 2

Investment bank Goldman Sachs has scrapped COVID perks for New York City-based staff including a free car to and from work, as well as free lunches.  

The upcoming policy changes, made by CEO David Solomon, comes after the Wall Street giant put an end to two years of free lunches and breakfast at the office.

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Both were designed to incentivize workers to come work in-person amid COVID-19 and a surge in crime in New York. 

The bank, which has yet to send an internal memo to its employees confirming the change, said it will offer free car rides to those who leave late — an existing perk since well before the start of the pandemic. 

It is widely-regarded as one of the best-paying investment banks in the world, with New York-based staff earning an average of $190,000-a-year in return for ferocious 16-hour days.  

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On Wednesday, Goldman Sachs also announced that it would increase its meal stipend to $30 from $25 — just two months after facing pressure from staff claiming they couldn’t even buy a Chipotle dinner with the allowance due to rising delivery costs and taxes.

The Goldman Sachs headquarters in New York

The Goldman Sachs headquarters in New York

Staff at the investment bank are noticing that the policy change in pandemic perks is coming at the same time as reports alleging that CEO David Solomon is increasing his salary. Solomon was paid $35 million in 2021

Staff at the investment bank are noticing that the policy change in pandemic perks is coming at the same time as reports alleging that CEO David Solomon is increasing his salary. Solomon was paid $35 million in 2021

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Goldman Sachs told its employees this week that it will end free rides to and from the office unless they are working late hours

Goldman Sachs told its employees this week that it will end free rides to and from the office unless they are working late hours

The extra $5, however, comes at the expense of employees no longer being given free breakfast and lunch.

Cash registers at the bank’s cafeteria in its New York office have already been put in place, sources close to the New York Post reported. 

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It’s unclear when the change in ride sharing will take effect, but employees are well aware of it, the outlet added. 

Pandemic perks are being taken away as Solomon and other top executives at the bank will see a spike in share of profits from the bank’s private investment funds, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

The totality of money saved from COVID perks could be used to allocate hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses to Goldman Sachs’ top brass. 

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‘To see a global bank’s leadership team be so out of touch with their junior employees by requiring them to fully return to office and take away certain perks, while Solomon does his little DJ thing and takes home record pay, is truly tone deaf,’ Mark Moran, head of growth and operations at Litquidity told the New York Post.

Rumors that Solomon will receive more than the $35 million salary he was paid in 2021 continue to spread after proxy advisory from Glass Lewis told Goldman Sachs shareholders they should oppose the pay package that the CEO and other officials at the bank are set to earn.  

Glass Lewis labelled a one-time $30 million bonus to Solomon and a $20 million bonus to Chief Operating Officer John Waldron as ‘excessive.’

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Free rides for banks at Goldman Sachs are coming to an end a day after the bank pulled the plug on providing free breakfast and lunch - an initiative taken to push people to come work in the office during the pandemic. The pizza station of its NYC canteen is pictured ty

Free rides for banks at Goldman Sachs are coming to an end a day after the bank pulled the plug on providing free breakfast and lunch – an initiative taken to push people to come work in the office during the pandemic. The pizza station of its NYC canteen is pictured ty

 

Cash registers have reportedly been set up at Goldman Sachs' cafeteria in its New York office so that employees can now pay for their meals

Cash registers have reportedly been set up at Goldman Sachs’ cafeteria in its New York office so that employees can now pay for their meals

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The reports come after remote employees around the country are blaming Biden-fueled inflation rates and skyrocketing costs of gas and childcare for their continued to need to work from home. 

Now that coronavirus positivity rates are low, remote work proponents are no longer blaming their desire to stay home on safety concerns, but instead on the financial impacts of their daily office routine, which is far pricer than when the U.S. shut down in March 2020.

Consumer prices reached 8.5 percent last month, nearly double what were in March 2021, and the highest inflation rate increase the country has seen since 1981.

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The national gas average hit $4.33 per gallon last month, according to data collected by AAA. This time last year, prices were around $2.87 per gallon on average, still a significant increase from the pre-pandemic rates of 2019, which were about $2.60 per gallon.

Workers also noted how an iced latte from Dunkin’ Donuts rose shut up to $3.99 from $3.70 last year, a trend also seen at other chain restaurants.Others cited how this year a salad Sweetgreen cost $11.95 when it was $11.20 last year or how a Potbelly sandwich had risen from $7.20 to $7.65.

This time last year the national average for gas prices was around $2.87 per gallon, still a significant increase from the pre-pandemic rates of 2019, which were about $2.60 per gallon

This time last year the national average for gas prices was around $2.87 per gallon, still a significant increase from the pre-pandemic rates of 2019, which were about $2.60 per gallon

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Meanwhile, office occupancy nationwide has crept to above 40 percent – its highest level since March 2020 – but still low in comparison to pre-pandemic levels.

Data also showed the majority of the in-person workforce was comprised of non-executive employees while most executives, despite spearheading the return to work effort, remain at least partially remote.

At least 35 percent of non-executive employees have returned to the office five days a week, while only 19 percent of executives have, Bloomberg revealed.

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Analysts allege there is a double standard for regular workers and executives – defined as anyone holding a title of president, partner or chief – in returning to the office.

Bank of America and Google are reportedly prodding their employees to return to their offices, but allowing bosses to be exempt from the requirement, the news outlet alleged. 

Jobless claims two weeks ago reached the lowest level since 1968, with the four-week average of claims, which levels out week-to-week ups and downs, edged up from 170,000 to 172,000. Weekly applications for unemployment aid, a proxy for layoffs, have remained consistently below the pre-pandemic level of 225,000

Jobless claims two weeks ago reached the lowest level since 1968, with the four-week average of claims, which levels out week-to-week ups and downs, edged up from 170,000 to 172,000. Weekly applications for unemployment aid, a proxy for layoffs, have remained consistently below the pre-pandemic level of 225,000

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Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor revealed unemployment has remained at a historically low level, reflecting a robust U.S. labor market with near record-high job openings and few layoffs.

Jobless claims two weeks ago reached the lowest level since 1968, with the four-week average of claims, which levels out week-to-week ups and downs, edged up from 170,000 to 172,000.

Two years after the coronavirus pandemic sent the economy into a brief but devastating recession, American workers are enjoying extraordinary job security.

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Weekly applications for unemployment aid, a proxy for layoffs, have remained consistently below the pre-pandemic level of 225,000.

Last year, employers added a record 6.7 million jobs, and they’ve added an average of 560,000 more each month so far in 2022.

The unemployment rate, which soared to 14.7 percent in April 2020 in the depths of the COVID-19 recession, is now just 3.6 percent, barely above the lowest point in 50 years. And there is a record proportion of 1.7 job openings for every unemployed American.

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Fewer than 1.48 million Americans were collecting traditional unemployment benefits in the week of April 2.

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