Amazon has boosted parental leave benefits for its employees, company representatives have announced in an internal memo circulated on Monday.
This decision comes after the company has received harsh criticism over imposing excessive demands on its staff and holding them to impossibly high standards.
Executives have been accused of encouraging their employees to sabotage and turn against one another, to work extra hours, and to do whatever it takes to climb the corporate ladder.
Moreover, white-collar workers who had been faced with personal crises such as cancer or miscarriages have claimed that being employed by Amazon proved to be a soul-crushing experience.
Instead of receiving support from their peers and bosses, they allege to have been dismissed after not recovering fast enough and being considered unproductive.
Now, it appears that the tech giant wishes to fight against bad press, by introducing parental leave benefits for the first time in the company’s history.
Representatives of the online retailer have even been quick to outline the fact that over 80% of the businesses in the United States offer no such favors to their employees.
In the past, new mothers working for Amazon had complained that lack of support and understanding from their bosses made them feel as if they had been punished for being pregnant.
Now, the policy will be providing up to 4 weeks of paid pre-partum medical leave, and an extra 10 weeks of paid maternity leave.
There will also be a 6-week paid parental leave for birth mothers and other new parents who have been employed there for a period of at least one year.
Moreover, the e-commerce and cloud computing company has established a “leave share” program, so that new mothers or fathers can resume their work, while transferring their paid leave to their spouses, who will be able to stay home and care for the newborn baby.
This measure will assist employees who wish to regain their job duties, but can’t, because their partners don’t normally benefit from paid parental leave.
There will also be a “ramp back” policy, in order to give parents the possibility to be return back to work while maintaining a flexible schedule, requiring them to work part-time (50% of 75% of their normal schedule), for a period of up to 8 weeks.
The expanded maternity and paternal leave will be applied starting from January 1, for families where babies were born or adopted ever since October 1. Measures refer to the full-time staff, which also includes over 100,000 people employed at fulfillment centers and customer service units.
Nowadays, there is no compulsory paid leave in the United States dedicated to new parents: the most assistance that an average mom or dad can hope for from the government is 12 weeks of unpaid leave.
Federal employees do receive 6 weeks of paid leave, while just 12% of private companies offer such benefits to their staff. Tech firms tend to fare better overall, in an effort to attract and retain talent, while improving employee satisfaction.
Facebook provides 4 months of paid leave following the birth of a child, and Microsoft gives its employees 12 weeks of paid paternal leave, irrespective of their gender.
Similarly, Yahoo grants biological mothers salaried leaves of up to 16 weeks, while Google strives to be more welcoming of women by offering paid maternity leaves for up to 5 months.
Also, Netflix has recently introduced a policy providing a maximum of one year of paid leave, following the adoption or birth of a child.
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