Amazon's Hourly Warehouse Workers Get Same Parental Leave as Corporate Employees

September 26, 2018
Parental leave has been one of the most talked-about topics in the world for a long time, as parental leave policies did not work for most of the employees. As of 2016, major tech companies started to change their policies and go above and beyond government requirements to make sure not only that their employees have more time off before and after having a baby, but also that their time off is fully paid.

According to a recent survey by Recode, the world's major tech companies offer great benefits regarding parental leave to their employees. Netflix holds the first place, with 52 weeks of paid parental leave for both new moms and their partners (following either birth or adoption), followed by Microsoft and Airbnb, both offering 22 weeks of paid maternity leave (12 weeks and 10 weeks of non-birth parent paid leave, respectively).

Amazon holds the fifth place, right after Twitter (20 weeks for both parents), offering 20 weeks of paid maternity leave and 6 weeks of paid leave for non-birth parents. As of April 2018, Amazon has 563100 employees worldwide, all of whom can now enjoy the benefits of its new parental leave policy.
The e-commerce giant now provides the same parental leave benefits to all its full-time employees.
No More Two-Tier Benefits

The most interesting part about the new policy is that the e-commerce giant now provides the same parental leave benefits to all its full-time employees. Before the new policy, only corporate employees, such as software developers and executives with high salaries could enjoy the perks, whereas now all Amazon's hourly warehouse workers have access to the enhanced benefits as well.

The overhaul of the two-tier system is one of the best steps that Amazon ever took, showing great care and interest in all of its employees' well-being, regardless of whether they are highly-paid software developers or low-paid hourly workers in operations and logistics.

Benefits for Both Parents

Amazon offers the benefits of paid parental leave to all of its full-time workers who put in over 30 hours per week. New moms can get 20 weeks of fully paid maternity leave, 4 of which they can take before they give birth. After that, they can take up to 16 weeks off, which will be paid in full.

Their spouses can take 6 of those 16 weeks and also get a full base pay for the time off. That is absolutely perfect for all new moms who return to work after giving birth, because they can do so with a peace of mind, knowing that their partners are home with the baby and getting the proper pay. Their partners get the equivalent of their salary at Amazon, regardless of where they work.

New fathers working at Amazon can also get 6 weeks of paid non-birth parent leave, even if their significant others work at some other company. The same paternity leave policy applies for Amazon workers who have adopted a child. This is great for new moms who don't get paid maternity leave at their places of work, as they can share the leave with their partners working at Amazon.
Jeff Bezos started to think about how they could improve the new parents' experience at the company and provide them and their partners with an opportunity to rest.
Aaron Toso, Amazon's PR specialist, took two weeks off when his wife, Meghan, gave birth to their daughter in September 2016. He shared the remaining six weeks of his parental leave with his wife, who doesn't work at Amazon and has no paid maternity leave.

Toso said in an interview that, because of Amazon's great new parental leave policy, "my wife didn't have to rush back to her business," adding "We really just wanted to enjoy spending time with her, spend time together as a family."

This "Leave Share" program was designed with hourly warehouse workers in mind. After getting feedback from a lot of focus groups, Amazon's HR director, Steve Winter, and the company's CEO, Jeff Bezos, started to think about how they could improve the new parents' experience at the company and provide them and their partners with an opportunity to rest.

Another part of the new parental policy because of which Amazon truly stands out includes the "Ramp Back" program, which enables new parents, regardless of gender, to take up to 8 weeks of flexible work schedule and reduced work hours. This means that they can ease back to work by putting in fewer hours than usual, as well as working for fewer days.

The "Ramp Back" initiative is beneficial to both Amazon and its hourly warehouse workers because new parents can transition back to work much better prepared for all their daily tasks, as they will be properly rested and actually ready to work. That physical and emotional relief in turn reflects on the company's overall success.

Parent Ambassadors

Amazon created a group of about 40 HR employees who act as "parent ambassadors", helping new parents stay in the loop with everything business-related while they are on parental leave. They stay in touch with them until they are ready to come back to work.

This is yet another great benefit that all Amazon's full-time workers can enjoy when it comes to parental leave and another reason why the Seattle-based e-commerce giant stands out from other major tech companies when it comes to benefits for its full-time employees.
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