Amazon Is Testing 30-Hour Work Week

Pay will be reduced, but benefits will be full
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2016 12:47 PM CDT
Amazon Is Testing 30-Hour Work Week
This Sept. 6, 2012, file photo shows the Amazon logo in Santa Monica, Calif. Amazon reports financial results Thursday, July 28, 2016.   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

Amazon is experimenting with a 30-hour work week—but before you get too excited, consider that the employees will only earn 75% of what full-time employees earn. But they will be salaried and will get the same benefits as the 40-hour employees, the Washington Post reports. The pilot program, which was announced late last week, will involve entire technical teams (including managers) that work 30-hour weeks; in total, a few dozen employees will be a part of the experiment. Reactions:

  • Quartz notes that Amazon has become "known for its soul-crushing work culture," and points out that a 30-hour work week could actually end up improving productivity: Studies have shown workers who put in fewer hours at the office are more productive.

  • The Christian Science Monitor notes that Amazon is likely trying to draw more women to its workforce, as a more flexible work week could be attractive to mothers.
  • At Forbes, Tim Worstall expands on that idea: "The gender pay gap is actually about children," he writes. "Never married no children women do not face a pay gap. The major cause is that in our society, rightly or wrongly, women take on, on average, the job of being primary caregiver to the partnership’s children more often than men do. ... Amazon has spotted a chance to get talent on the cheap as a result of other employers not offering child friendly, or child care friendly, working hours."
  • Fortune says the move could also come in response to increasing automation in the industry, which is reducing the demand for human labor.
An analyst tells the Post that, while many other companies have mentioned the desire to shorten the work week, not many have actually done anything about it. "There has for a very long time been a stigma against working reduced hours, or part-time work," she says, and hopefully Amazon's move can break that taboo. (More stories.)

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