Self-proclaimed “Momazonians,” a group of roughly 1,800 female Amazon employees, are demanding that the company provide them with backup daycare, and they’re taking their protest straight to the desk of CEO Jeff Bezos.
Despite startling stats which support a much higher level of engagement and retention for companies listed on the top 100 best companies for working mothers, companies like Amazon still aren’t providing backup daycare. Some argue about whether childcare availability is a hindrance to empowered women in the workplace or if it may be a shared issue.
The “Momazonians,” approximately 1,800 people strong, are making demands for the benefit of an entire generation. Amazon offers an extensive suite of employee benefits, but the most valuable benefit provided by other companies is time: not having to commute to daycare, then work, then grocery shopping or any other errands, back to daycare, and finally home, in any order they can.
According to Geekwire, the following are benefits offered by Amazon to families:
“We are proud to offer valuable, competitive benefits to our over 250,000 US 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. 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.”
Unfortunately for Jeff Bezos and Amazon, time is the most valuable resource we have. We can trade it for virtually anything, but we can’t get more of it. We can only optimize our use of it—backup daycare is an excellent way to do so.
There is little doubt that, with the wage gap, women can be pressured to take leave rather than their counterparts, for fear of impacting the household budget. At the same time, the counterpart feels the palpable strain of their partner foregoing their goals to hold down the fort while they struggle at their job. Offering backup daycare provides employees with the tools they need to succeed.
Any household will have a primary breadwinner—the person who makes more than their partner. When life becomes difficult with children, this will likely be the person who keeps trekking to the office, while the other may be sacrificing their own career goals to make stops at daycare, grocery stores, and the other demands life has to offer.
Work-life balance, if properly maintained, helps employees bolster the company’s bottom line, stave off burnout, and achieve happiness in their roles, both current and future.
The Corporate Executive Board, representing 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies, found that employees who believe that they have good work-life balance work 21 percent harder than those who don’t, based on a study of 50,000 global workers.
The Center For American Progress found that the average cost of employee turnover was 21 percent of an employee’s annual salary. In some cases, the cost of turnover has been shown to cost as much as 300 percent more than the replaced employee’s yearly salary.
An estimated 10,000 baby boomers are retiring from the workforce every day; the jobs they leave behind are being filled by millennials who aren’t willing to make the same sacrifices their predecessors did. The new workforce is pressing hard for work-life balance because they deserve to live well and create a happy family.
We know that we must make some sacrifices along the way, but fewer people find themselves willing to cast aside their aspirations for having a home and family in exchange for, “a job they should be lucky to have.” That’s obviously not something they have worked hard for years to achieve, right?
Millennials are getting sick of giving up everything to put their dime in someone else’s pocket. The growth of the gig economy, a rise in employee turnover in companies nationwide, and higher expectations—from employees, for their employers—all signal a need to revamp an outdated and broken system. Not to mention the idiocy of throwing five-figures worth of income at childcare per year.
So come on Jeff Bezos, give your Amazon employees the access to childcare they desperately need. Maybe other companies will follow your example.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.