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Facebook promises minimum wage and paid leave for contractors

Facebook is implementing new employee standards to guarantee better conditions for its contracted workers.

The new proposal will see anyone who performs “substantial work” for the social network but who is employed by another firm, receive a $15 minimum wage, 15 days paid leave and $4,000 child benefit for new parents. In order to qualify for the benefits, the external company must have at least 25 members of staff working with Facebook.

In a blog post (opens in new tab), Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook, explained that the changes have been in development for some time and are already being implemented within some of the larger support teams at the company’s Menlo Park headquarters.

“Taking these steps is the right thing to do for our business and our community,” she explained. “Women, because they comprise about two-thirds of minimum wage workers nationally, are particularly affected by wage adjustments. Research also shows that providing adequate benefits contributes to a happier and ultimately more productive workforce.”

Contractors have long campaigned for better employment rights, largely as they may be working alongside full-time Facebook employees but subject to inferior wages and benefits. This has led to reports of inequality amongst Silicon Valley firms, something that is only now being rectified. Microsoft announced that contractors would be entitled to 15 days paid leave back in March, while both Google and Apple are now employing security teams full-time.

Although the larger technology firms have the resources to be able to offer contractors improved working conditions, it remains to be seen whether smaller companies will follow suit. In any case, the decision to extend company benefits to contracted members of staff can only help alleviate some of the social inequality in the industry.

UPDATE: Charlie Clark, CEO of Rosslyn Analytics (opens in new tab), has commented: “We couldn’t agree more with Facebook’s move to ensure all suppliers are paying their employees minimum wage.

“The announcement comes at a time when it has never been more difficult to manage your entire supply chain given its size and disparity as more and more elements are outsourced. An organisation such as Facebook has lead the way when it comes to using consumer data for competitive advantage, it now has to do the same with its supplier data.

"The Internet of Things is not just about fridges, smart meters and wearable devices. The IoT extends to the hundreds of millions of data signals we are able to efficiently capture and bring to bear in our supply chains. It’s also a reality; and it must be used by business leaders to intelligently navigate their companies through ever-changing, uncertain economic times.

“The good news is gathering data about your suppliers has never been easier. Instead of being yet another mundane task that will require investment and resource, you are able to immediately convert all that information on your suppliers into a digital asset in your company.

"The insight is fundamental for making good decisions – whether it’s from a social responsibility perspective or to drive efficiencies through combining orders and create more effective supply chain working relationships. Very few businesses are currently using data to do this, and they are missing a trick both competitively and even morally – as Facebook has quite rightly highlighted.”

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.