Amazon Increases Paid Leave For New Parents

By Rachel Lerman
The Seattle Times.

Amazon.com has boosted its maternity benefit to up to 20 weeks of paid leave for new birth mothers, joining a growing number of tech companies expanding benefits to retain hard-to-find technical talent.

The company sent an internal email Monday outlining the changes, which take effect Jan. 1 and apply to babies born or adopted since Oct. 1.

Under the policy, new parents of either gender who have worked at Amazon for at least a year will get six weeks of paid leave. That applies to birth parents and parents who adopt children.

Added to the 10 weeks birth moms are offered, plus four weeks of medical leave some moms qualify for, some of those mothers now have up to 20 weeks of paid time off.

This is the first time Amazon has offered paid time off for new fathers.

Amazon also introduced a “leave share program” that allows employees to gift all or part of the six-week leave to a spouse or partner who does not have paid parental leave through his or her own work.

That means the Amazon employee would come back to work, and his or her partner could get paid by Amazon to stay home and care for the child.

The announcement comes in the wake of Netflix’s highly publicized policy change this year, which gave employees up to a year of paid leave after birth or adoption of a child.

Microsoft followed suit almost immediately after, adding eight weeks of paid leave for new parents.

Amazon’s expanded benefits come not long after a New York Times investigation found that some Amazon employees were critical of the company’s work culture and were not happy with the benefits offered. The company has disputed the account.

Expanding benefits and perks has become almost routine for tech companies in recent months. An October survey from employer review site Glassdoor.com found that 79 percent of employees surveyed wanted additional benefits more than a pay raise.

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