Our daily lives have changed in unexpected ways as a result of COVID-19. With the closure of schools and summer camps, and the loss of some childcare and adult care options, we know it’s challenging to balance home and work. We listened to feedback from employees across the company, and they told us that helping them access affordable quality childcare was a top priority for families during this time.
Amazon will offer a new family care benefit through Care.com to 650,000 full and part-time Amazon and Whole Foods Market employees in the U.S. This benefit will provide each employee up to 10 days of subsidized emergency backup child or adult care between now and January 31, 2021. Amazon employees will only have to pay a co-pay of $25 per day for in-center childcare or $5 per hour for in-home child or adult care. Amazon will cover more than 90 percent of the cost of the service, and will invest several million dollars to offer this new benefit over the next few months.
“We’ve heard from our employees that access to affordable family care, for both children and adults, is particularly challenging during the COVID crisis and we are committed to support them in this unprecedented time,” said Beth Galetti, Amazon senior vice president of Human Resources. “This new child and adult care option will add to the comprehensive benefits we provide to all regular, full-time Amazon employees, including comprehensive health insurance, a 401(k) plan, and 20 weeks of paid maternity leave, among others.”
Amazon’s families are diverse and so are their needs
For Emily Colby, an executive assistant at Amazon’s Seattle campus and a member of an employee affinity group called Momazonians, this new choice for care means less juggling between her and her husband over who watches their 18-month-old son, Silas, while they work. Colby says before the pandemic her family shared a nanny with four other families. During COVID-19, Colby, her husband, and her mother have found ways to balance work while making sure their son has supervision all day.
"The biggest thing is that I am being cognizant about is having our caretakers feel uncomfortable with coming into our house including my mom and our nanny. This benefit will be very helpful to take some of the pressure off of our childcare providers," Colby said. "I have been very fortunate to be on a team of a lot of other parents as well as thoughtful individuals who understand that things are wonky right now. I was very upfront with my team when we stopped utilizing our nanny telling them my situation, and the reaction has been very respectful with a lot of people in the same boat."
For other Amazonians, elder care is critical right now. Older family members are at a higher risk for the worst effects of COVID-19. Jennifer Kilcrease, a process assistant at an Amazon fulfillment center near St. Louis, Missouri, says this new benefit will help ensure her 90-year-old immune-compromised grandmother receives care.
"It’s an affordable option if I’m in a bind and I need someone to help her for a few hours a day," Kilcrease said. "Even helping with small things like laundry or groceries."
Cherita Washington, an area manager at another St. Louis fulfillment center, will benefit in two ways. Washington’s mother suffers from dementia and she also co-parents her 4-year-old daughter, Carmen.
"I know people do need this additional support and if you want to pick up an extra shift it’s hard to find childcare right now. This is an awesome new benefit," Washington said.
Vera Makianich, a vendor manager with Amazon Camera in Seattle, agrees that last minute childcare can be a challenge. Her husband works freelance, so there often isn’t much warning when he has to go to work and they need help caring for their 3-year-old son Ari.
"Having an affordable option for backup care will be really great for us. It has been challenging trying to balance watching my son while working throughout the day," Makianich said. "This is a really great initiative that Amazon is offering. Amazon has a number of transplants like us that move to Seattle to work at Amazon. If you don’t have family members nearby, it can be hard to find someone to watch your kids that you trust, and at the same time, at an affordable rate so this is a great solution."
Supporting employees and keeping them safe
Along with the new family care program, Amazon continues to offer industry-leading pay and comprehensive benefits, including health and dental insurance from day one, a 401(k) plan, 20 weeks of paid maternity leave, and access to company-funded upskilling opportunities like the Career Choice program, which pre-pays 95% of tuition and fees for our associates to earn certificates and associate degrees in high-demand fields.
Over the past few months, Amazon has launched several initiatives in response to COVID-19 to help ensure the health, safety, and well-being of our employees. Read more about Amazon’s $4 billion investment to keep employees safe and get customers what they need.
Updated to include extension of dependent care benefit.