Elizabeth just needed a safe place to land and regroup while she figured out how to move on from a first career that hadn't given her what she needed.
"I desperately needed insurance," she said. "And Amazon had day-one benefits, so that's why I ended up at Amazon in the first place."
She accepted an entry level role in the shipping department of an Amazon facility in Utah. "It was holiday season. I figured I would go work there for a little while, while I was searching for my career job. Three years later, I'm still here, so …," she said, trailing off into a happy laugh.
Elizabeth has since been promoted three times, including to the human resources team soon after she started working at Amazon. She knew from her time in the working world that some companies leave their people to fend for themselves, and she relished being part of an Amazon team devoted to delivering meaningful help to fellow employees.
"Amazon has so many benefits and things that we can point people toward," she said. "I love talking to moms about the parental leave—because, comparatively in the United States, Amazon has fantastic parental leave."
Only 23% of American workers have access to paid parental leave, according to the March 2021 National Compensation Survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That leaves more than 3 in 4 Americans needing to hurry back to work after the birth of a new baby or find a way to get by without a paycheck.
Amazon believes parents deserve to be with their new babies, so the company provides up to 20 weeks of fully paid leave—for salaried and hourly employees alike.
It wasn't long after her most recent promotion—her third with Amazon—that baby Peyton came into her life, giving her direct personal experience with the difference that paid parental leave can make.
"I was able to take 20 weeks off, fully paid," she said. "Being a single mom, I wanted to not spend my leave just alone with me and my baby." So she left home in Utah and brought Peyton to visit her parents in Florida. "In his little life, he got to travel cross-country. And that was just because I was being paid."
In addition to her leave, Elizabeth joined the ranks of Amazon employees who have smoothed the return to their careers by participating in our Ramp Back program, which allows employees to work part-time while transitioning from leave. Ramp Back offers parents eight consecutive weeks of flexibility and partial work hours after the birth or adoption of a child as they readjust to work schedules as new parents.
"It was really nice to only come back and work 20 hours a week because building structure in the beginning is so hard,” she said.
As part of our commitment to continue to make improvements to support hourly employees, we are telling the stories of families helped by Amazon’s fully paid leave.
Here's the fine print behind our fully paid leave:
- We offer 20 weeks of fully paid leave for birthing parents, including four weeks before the baby is born.
- We offer six weeks of fully paid leave to supporting parents and adoptive parents.
- Our Leave Share program allows employees to give six weeks of paid parental leave to a spouse or partner whose jobs don't provide paid leave.
- With flexible scheduling and part-time options, our Ramp Back program helps employees through the challenge of coming back to work after a new baby.
- Employees are eligible if they have one year of continuous service and are regularly scheduled to work at least 30 hours per week before their child arrives.