Amazon is now offering new birth mothers who have spent a year with the company up to 20 weeks of paid maternity leave. The company outlined the new perk in an internal memo, which it shared with NBC News on Monday.
It’s the latest salvo in the technology benefits wars, with top companies heaping perks on their workers to prevent poaching and attract top talent. Women have been a focus of these expanded benefits, with companies including Apple and Facebook offering to subsidize egg freezing for their female employees, even as both companies deal with lackluster diversity statistics.
Amazon’s new program introduced on Monday guarantees new mothers four weeks of medical leave before delivery, followed by 10 weeks of paid maternity leave. All new mothers or parents who have worked at the company for at least a year then also qualify for an additional six weeks of paid parental leave.
The new policy will allow employees to share all or some of that six-week paid parental leave with a partner who works at another company that does not offer paid leave. The changes will go into full effect at the beginning of 2016, Amazon said, and will be available to all full-time employees.
A growing number of tech companies have offered paid maternity leave programs that are well above the standard for most American workers. The United States is alone among developed nations in that the government does not require employers to offer paid time off for new mothers.
Both Netflix and Microsoft in August announced benefits changes that extended parental leave benefits. Microsoft increased its number of paid weeks of parental leave to 12, and Netflix introduced what it billed as ‘unlimited’ leave for new moms and dads, allowing them to take off as much time as they chose during the first year following the birth or adoption of a child.
Amazon's announcement of the new perk comesamid fallout from an August article in the New York Times that depicted an often harsh and competitive workplace environment at the company.