No Two-Tier Benefits: Amazon Warehouse Workers Get Same Parental Leave As Corporate Staff (August 21, 2017)

By: Ángel González, The Seattle Times

When Elvira Lopez’s son Javier was born in March 2016, the Amazon.com warehouse employee took advantage of a perk that few U.S. hourly workers enjoy: She took 20 weeks of paid maternity leave, and after that, a six-week gradual ramp-up back to work.

“I was able to go to appointments. You know how hard that can be,” said the 28-year old Lopez, who lives in Phoenix. The time off also gave her the opportunity to spend time with her older daughter, 11, during the summer and to visit California, where she’s from. “We went to Disneyland. Twice.”

Lopez is one of 11,000 U.S. employees to have enjoyed Amazon’s overhaul of parental-leave benefits in November 2015. About 72 percent of them are, like Lopez, operations and logistics workers paid by the hour and on the lower end of the salary scale, according to data released for the first time by the company.

Amazon’s move to revamp its parental-leave benefits coincided with a wider wave of perk enhancements among booming U.S. technology companies concerned about retaining talented employees, especially women, who are underrepresented in tech. Microsoft and Netflix had announced major improvements to their parental-leave policies earlier that year.

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