Amazon is an e-commerce juggernaut that has aimed to become the ‘Earth’s best employer‘. Nonetheless, the company has frequently fallen short of its lofty goals.
Employees have complained about not being paid properly, while poor working conditions have been criticized. Amazon has acknowledged these issues and tried to rectify them, but many employees and onlookers feel there is still plenty of room for improvement.
Following an education-based benefit program that entitled workers to free education programs, the company has once again updated its benefits to improve its workplace. This time Amazon is focusing on parents.
Amazon’s new parental benefits
The company’s FamilyFlex benefits will now broaden schemes that were previously only available to specific divisions.
In the US, new parents working across all of Amazon are now able to take up to 20 weeks of paid paternal leave. Additionally, employees can share up to six weeks of paid leave with a partner whose employer doesn’t provide paternity leave.
The company also offers up to six weeks of paid leave for parents who adopt.
When parents return to Amazon, they also will be able to take advantage of its Ramp Back program. The program allows returning parents to work a reduced schedule for up to eight weeks.
Workers will further be able to use Amazon’s internal A to Z app that allows them to set customized work schedules that accommodate for dropping kids off at school and daycare. This app also allows staff to swap shifts if a sudden incident related to their child arises.
Finally, Amazon will expand access to a flexible payment program that allows employees to access earnings before their typical payment period. The lending service aims to minimize stress around pay, therefore helping employees focus on work.
Speaking about the initiatives, Alicia Boler Davis, Amazon’s Senior Vice President of Global Customer Fulfillment, noted: “The pandemic has put a spotlight on, and even exacerbated, the challenges faced by families who care for young children.
“Giving employees ways to balance work and home commitments is important to us, which is why we go beyond providing an average starting wage of $18 per hour and comprehensive benefits”.
Discussing the importance of the new initiatives proposed by Amazon, the CEO of a nonprofit organization Path Forward, Tami Forman said in a statement: “Women — and many parents in general — will not be able to return to the workforce and thrive there, without policies like flexible schedules and family support resources.
“Programs like Amazon FamilyFlex are another step toward meaningful change as employees seek better balance between work and caregiving responsibilities.”
Although Amazon is offering a considerable variety of benefits, it has a very poor retention rate. Undoubtedly, the company will hope that its new benefits will be part of a solution to this ongoing problem.