“Momazonians” at Amazon want their company to step up when it comes to providing backup daycare services for their children.
Bloomberg reported Monday that a group of more than 1,800 Amazon employees — who are also mothers — want the tech giant to start offering a benefit already available at many other large companies.
Their argument: The employees are collecting evidence that shows how not providing backup daycare stunts career growth for female workers at Amazon. They hope to convince Amazon brass, including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, that the benefit would help Amazon retain and recruit talented female employees.
They could point to examples such as Patagonia, which has an on-site childcare center and in 2016 saw a 100 percent retention rate for women who had children over the previous five years. Or to the fact that nearly all the top companies on a recent Working Mother list of 100 Best Companies offer backup childcare.
Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Alphabet all offer backup daycare benefits. Starbucks began providing it this past October, citing a study from the National Survey of Children’s Health that showed 2 million working parents quitting their job in 2016 due to childcare issues.
Amazon says: Here’s what Amazon sent to GeekWire in response to a request for comment:
“We are proud to offer valuable, competitive benefits to our over 250,000 US employees – including hourly, salaried, corporate, and operations – from $15 minimum wage, to 401(k) matching, flexible parental leave and health benefits starting on the first day at work. For example, we provide comprehensive fertility benefits, memberships and discounts for childcare services, and flexible parental leave programs that provide birth parents up to 20 weeks of paid leave and non-birth parents up to six weeks of parental leave. At Amazon, everyone, regardless of their position, level or tenure, has access to the same benefits – there are no tiers, and no employee is more important than another. When creating benefits, we focus on efforts that can scale to help the largest number of individuals, and work in partnership with our employees to ensure that what we are building offers meaningful support.”
Bigger picture: Bloomberg noted how the “Momazonians” could help women move up the ranks at Amazon, which has one woman on a senior management team that reports directly to Bezos. They could also help “engineer a major cultural shift at Amazon, where the needs of workers take a back seat to Bezos’s goal of satisfying the hallowed needs of the customer,” Bloomberg reported.
This is also another recent example of tech employees sounding off on workplace issues. A group of Amazon shareholders in January called on the company to stop selling its facial recognition software to government agencies until the board has determined that the technology doesn’t pose risks to civil and human rights. Last month, a group of Google employees launched a public awareness campaign about mandatory arbitration agreements.
Last year, facing an employee backlash and public criticism from black and Hispanic members of Congress, Amazon adopted a new policy to consider “a slate of diverse candidates, including women and minorities” for future openings on its board. The company said at the time that it was merely formalizing its existing practice.
In the past month, Amazon has added two women to its board of directors: Starbucks executive Rosalind Brewer and former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi.