Just over a year ago, The New York Times investigated claims of Amazon’s “grueling” work culture. The findings weren’t good. More than 100 current and former employees dished on everything from 80-hour workweeks to being retaliated against for taking personal time off.
In response to these allegations, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos wrote a letter to shareholders. In his letter, Bezos stated that, “We never claim that our approach is the right one, just that it’s ours. And over the last two decades, we’ve collected a large group of like-minded people—folks who find our approach energizing and meaningful.”
But after promising to look into the claims, the Fortune 500 giant is now testing out a 30-hour workweek. A few, small tech teams will be taking part in the trial.
But the newly developed solution doesn’t come without a cost. While 30-hour a week employees will still retain the same benefits as their 40-hour counterparts, their pay will be reduced by 25%; an affordable solution for some, but not for others.
Due to Seattle’s soaring housing market, reducing pay by 25% is not even an option for lower-wage workers. This follows concerns that the new program would foster class division by separating the haves from the have-nots.
In a recent posting on Eventbrite.com, Amazon stated, “We want to create a work environment that is tailored to a reduced schedule and still fosters success and career growth. This initiative was created with Amazon’s diverse workforce in mind and the realization that the traditional full-time schedule may not be a ‘one size fits all’ model.”
Amazon, while reportedly tough, has also been lauded for its gender-inclusive workplace policies, which includes 20 weeks of paid parental leave. The online retailer also throws annual parties, with performances from popular bands/singers. Supporters of the 30-hour workweek are hoping that Amazon’s latest experiment will inspire other companies to promote a better work-life balance.