Facebook Improves Benefits For Contract Workers

Photo: Bloomberg/Getty Images.
Facebook has been all over the news today with the unveiling of its new publishing platform, Instant Articles. But, there was another significant announcement from the tech giant that deserves our attention.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, released a statement about the company's updated benefits policy for contract employees:

Today, I am pleased to announce that we are implementing a new set of standards on benefits for contractors and vendors who support Facebook in the U.S. and do a substantial amount of work with us. These benefits include a $15 minimum wage, minimum 15 paid days off for holidays, sick time, and vacation, and for those workers who don’t receive paid parental leave, a $4,000 new-child benefit for new parents. This will give both women and men the flexibility to take paid parental leave, an important step for stronger families and healthier children. 

The tech industry is famous for its fancy perks — extended maternity and paternity leaves, access to free shuttles, offices outfitted with rock-climbing walls and ping-pong tables, free food — but such benefits aren't usually provided to the thousands of freelance workers these companies employ. 

Last month, Bloomberg Business wrote about unionized contract workers at Microsoft who have been pushing for better benefits. The group convinced the company to make a change that's very similar to Facebook's new policies — Microsoft contract workers now get 15 days paid vacation and sick leave. (Bloomberg also pointed out that "between vacation and sick days, Microsoft’s entry-level employees receive at least 25 paid days off.") On a similar note, last year Google decided to hire security guards as full-time employees rather than use an outside contractor.

Minimum wage in California is $9 per hour, higher than the nation's average of $7.25. The new benefits for Facebook's contract employees only apply to U.S.-based workers. 
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