TECH

Facebook Ups Pay, Benefits For Low-Wage Workers

A big logo created from pictures of Facebook users worldwide is pictured in the company's Data Center, its first outside the
A big logo created from pictures of Facebook users worldwide is pictured in the company's Data Center, its first outside the US on November 7, 2013 in Lulea, in Swedish Lapland. The company began construction on the facility in October 2011 and went live on June 12, 2013 and are 100% run on hydro power. AFP PHOTO/JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Facebook just announced a move toward addressing the increasingly large and embarrassing income gap between the haves and have-nots in Silicon Valley.

The company will give contractors -- think janitors, cooks -- a minimum wage of $15 an hour and offer them the kinds of benefits that are extremely basic to the vast majority of white-collar workers, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said Tuesday in a press release. She said some of these benefits already went into effect on May 1 in the company’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters and would be rolled out in other places throughout the year.

In addition to the $15 an hour pay, contractors will get at least 15 paid days off for holidays, vacation and sick time. And, in an unusual move, Facebook said it would give workers a $4,000 child benefit if they do not receive any maternity or paternity leave. The changes will affect "those who do substantial work for Facebook and who are employed by companies based in the US with more than 25 employees supporting Facebook," according to the release.

"Taking these steps is the right thing to do for our business and our community," Sandberg writes. "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."

She also said the announcement on this was delayed -- presumably because she was dealing with the unexpected death of her husband Dave Goldberg.

The move follows Microsoft’s announcement in March that it would require all contractors that employ at least 50 workers to offer paid leave. And it also comes amid increased White House pressure on the paid leave front.