Facebook issued new employee benefit guidelines that raise minimum pay to $15 and extends leave for third-party contract employees who work behind the scenes on the social network’s campuses. In a blog post Tuesday, Facebook’s chief operations executive Sheryl Sandberg wrote that contractors and vendors in U.S. will have to adhere to new standards, including a $15 minimum wage, at least 15 days paid leave for vacation, sick days and holidays, and a $4,000 new child benefit for parents who don’t get paid parental leave.
Effective May 1, the new benefits will cover contract employees who work as cooks, janitors, security guards and other support staff at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California. The company plans to extend the benefits to third-party vendors with more than 25 employees at its other 16 campuses in the U.S. over the next year.
Facebook will also absorb extra costs from the new program until contract companies can meet the new standards, a Facebook representative told the Wall Street Journal. The new program, which Sandberg said will primarily benefit women who make up two-thirds of the minimum wage workforce, aims to bring temporary or contract workers closer to the perks Facebook employees get, such as three weeks vacation, parental leave and new baby bonuses.
The move also follows a strong backlash from Silicon Valley’s invisible workforce. The employees tech companies lean on to provide the benefits full employees get such as free transportation, meals, security and personal grooming services, often face untenable work schedules with skimpy compensation by contracting companies. Earlier this year, shuttle bus drivers for Facebook employees unionized to fight grueling shifts and better pay. Amazon, which has frequent labor disputes, recently removed a controversial clause in its employment contract that banned seasonal and contract workers from getting jobs at companies that may only remotely compete with the online retailer.
Google hired more than 200 security guards last year instead of contracting the services out, giving them the same benefits — retirement, health insurance and paternity leave — as the company’s other employees. In a less traditional move, Apple and Facebook also expanded their health benefits, allowing female employees to freeze their eggs under the company’s insurance plans.
This blog was originally posted on Think Progress on May 13, 2015. Reprinted with permission.
About the author: The author’s name is Lauren C. Williams. Lauren C. Williams is the tech reporter for ThinkProgress with an affinity for consumer privacy, cybersecurity, tech culture and the intersection of civil liberties and tech policy. Before joining the ThinkProgress team, she wrote about health care policy and regulation for B2B publications, and had a brief stint at The Seattle Times. Lauren is a native Washingtonian and holds a master’s in journalism from the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s of science in dietetics from the University of Delaware.