TIME Money

by Taylor Tepper / November 3, 2015

Amazon’s policy reflects a shift in what workers want.

Amazon’s updated parental leave policy is a boon for its workers. The rest of the nation’s parents should be so lucky.

Birth mothers who work for Amazon can now take four weeks of paid leave before the birth of the child and 10 weeks of paid maternal leave post-birth. Any new parent (biological or adoptive) can also take an additional six weeks of paid parental leave if they have worked at the company for a year.

Amazon’s policy shift isn’t altruistic. The new rules, which will roll out next year, follow a New York Times investigation into the company’s work culture, in which “Motherhood [could] also be a liability.” (Amazon found the story lacking.) Some observers note that the new leave policy offers a blast of good PR as the company heads into holiday shopping season.

But perhaps more interestingly, the change shows a shift in priorities for recruiting-focused tech giants, which have moved on from offerings like free sodas and catered lunches. Amazon’s new policy follows in the footsteps of other big tech companies like Microsoft and Netflix, and actually goes even farther than Netflix’s in offering the benefit to all full time employees — including those at distribution centers.

“Now that men are spending more time with their children and tech is no longer a brand-new field, heavily populated by pre-parenthood employees, the need for attractive parental leave policies to compete for talent will be important,” says Kenneth Matos, senior director of research at Families and Work Institute.


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