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By August 31, 2016No Comments

The biggest workplace item this week is the news that internet shopping giant Amazon has started an exempt 30-hour workweek pilot program. The program only involves teams of a few dozen HR employees who will have the same benefits as 40-hour workers, but receive 75 percent of full-time pay. 

With the move Amazon may be headed towards allowing a greater portion of its workforce to work less than the traditional 40-hour work week. (It already has reduced workweek employees.) This is also not an original idea, even for billion dollar corporations. For example, accounting firms Deloitte and KPMG already offer reduced work weeks with full benefits.

Fox5 in New York talks more about the 30-hour workweek and workplace flexibility.

Amazon explained the reason for its new initiative while announcing an online recruitment seminar.

“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. Although this is new for technical job families at Amazon, the concept of part-time employment is not new – there are many people at Amazon who currently work a reduced 30 hour per week schedule. What is novel for Amazon is the creation of teams that are entirely comprised of part-time employees, including managers.”

“We want to create a work environment that is tailored to a reduced schedule and still fosters success and career growth. This team structure will ensure similar schedules, and enable ownership that allows team members to innovate and think big on behalf of our customers.”

“These part-time employees will still receive the same benefits as those employees scheduled for 40 hours per week. While the part-time employees’ projects will be carefully managed to align with schedules, they will share the same objective of all of our teams: to build great things on behalf of our customers.”

Amazon seems to realize that a traditional full-time schedule might be limiting its access to certain workers – like women. Female workers, who still often have child care responsibilities, might be greatly attracted to such full-benefit, part-time work. Amazon’s global workforce is more than 60 percent male, so the organization has work to do to balance the gender diversity of its company.

“This isn’t just good for women. Not all parents are women and not all women are parents. This would be good for anyone who has obligations outside of work or who simply wants a better work-life balance,” said Joelle Emerson, CEO of Paradigm, in a recent USA TODAY article.

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