Facebook is now requiring that its contract partners pay their workers a minimum wage of $15 and provide them with a broader set of benefits, the company announced Wednesday in a major win for low-wage workers who handle jobs like security at the tech giant's offices, including its Menlo Park, California, headquarters.
The $15 minimum is higher than California's $9 minimum wage and nearby San Francisco's $12.25 minimum. Along with the pay hike, Facebook also said its partners must provide workers with at least 15 paid days off for holidays, sick time and vacation and that workers who do not receive paid parental leave must instead receive $4,000 in new child benefits for new parents.
"Taking these steps is the right thing to do for our business and our community. 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," said Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg in a post. Sandberg recently returned to work following the sudden death of her husband this month.
The new standards took effect at Facebook's main campus in Menlo Park on May 1 and will be rolled out to the remainder of Facebook's offices across the U.S. by the end of the year. Facebook said the standards will apply to the companies it works with in the U.S. who supply at least 25 employees to Facebook.
The announcement was lauded by labor organizations who represent the people who perform low-wage jobs in Silicon Valley. Security officers and janitors at tech giants in the region are often contract workers who are technically employed by outside companies, and they often do not receive any of the extravagant benefits technology workers are recruited with.
"Facebook's decision is a direct result of security officers and shuttle drivers joining together for a stronger Silicon Valley,” said SEIU United Service Workers West President David Huerta in a statement. “We see this as a great first step and we will continue to work with good corporate citizens like Facebook who are heeding the call to raise standards and respect service workers' right to organize a union."
Recently, more tech companies have taken steps to take care of their workers at the low end of the totem pole. Google and Apple, for example, both took steps recently to make sure the drivers of their bus shuttles receive higher wages.