Amazon is on the defensive after ‘Momazonians’ campaign for emergency day care


Posted on: March 7th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Andrei Stanescu/iStock(SEATTLE) — Amazon is on the defense after a group of working mothers at Amazon — have waged an internal campaign for the company to provide backup day care.

The group of over 1800 women, who call themselves Momazonians, has been collecting anecdotal evidence about how the lack of day care support has held back, or even derailed careers of women working at Amazon, according to a Bloomberg report.

The report offered details, including one from a manager, who is “tired of seeing colleagues quit because they can’t find childcare in one of the country’s fastest-growing cities and a recruiter frustrated when top talent leaves for companies that offer working parents more support,” from an email penned by Momazonian members.

The company responded in a statement emailed to ABC News, which said: “We are proud to offer valuable, competitive benefits to our over 250,000 U.S. 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.”

The fertility benefits include covering IVF and egg freezing for single women.

“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,” the statement continued.

The campaign comes after years of reports of harsh working conditions at Amazon and attempts to unionize by some employees at its warehouses. Amazon is staunchly anti-union.

Other tech companies including Google, Facebook and LinkedIn provide up to 10 days of back up day care for children. Facebook offers 15 days for first-year parents, a company spokesman said. LinkedIn and Facebook extend the back up care for elders.

Child care costs and the “child penalty” is something that human resource and diversity experts have talked about as disproportionately affecting women, who are more frequently tasked with childcare while making less money, on average, than men.

“When you look at childcare as a society we tend to look at it as coming out of a woman’s paycheck and not a man’s. Because a woman’s paycheck is lower than a man’s, you’re continuing to perpetuate gender pay inequity and cutting into a dwindling salary base for women,” Katharine Zaleski, co-founder of the gender-diversity recruiting firm PowerToFly, told ABC News.

“If you have pay for 10 extra days of child care a year, then women start putting that into the equation of: ‘Is this costing me more money to work and should I just stay home?” Zaleski continued. “It perpetuates women leaving the work force because they figure it is cheaper to stay at home than pay for burgeoning cost of child care.”

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