One of Silicon Valley’s giants said today it will require its staffing vendors to pay their workers at least $15 an hour and give them paid sick leave and vacation.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg announced the new policy in a blog post today.
“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,” she said.
The policy took effect May 1 for vendors and contractors working at the company’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters. Within a year, Sandberg wrote, the policy will be implemented at all Facebook work sites.
She didn’t say how many workers would be affected.
Among Silicon Valley firms, Facebook is in the forefront of the drive to improve pay and benefits for the thousands of janitors, groundskeepers, cafeteria workers, drivers, and other agency-provided workers. The matter became a national issue last summer when a union-connected research group, Working Partnerships USA, issued a report highlighting the lack of diversity — and the pay discrepancies — among the Valley’s biggest tech firms.
Blacks and Latinos, the report observed, comprise less than 5 percent of the workforce at companies like Google and Facebook and LinkedIn, but account for up 75 percent of the blue-collar contractors. Janitors earn an average of $11.39 and hour, which the report compared to the $61.87 average pay fo a software developer.
Not long after the report was issued, and after months of picketing by unionized security guards, Google announced it would convert its contract security guards to W-2 employees.
Outside of tech, other companies have been under pressure to improve pay and benefits for their workers. In February, Walmart said it would raise its starting pay to $9 an hour.