Facebook gives low-wage workers a boost

5 stunning stats on Facebook
5 stunning stats on Facebook

Facebook is known for offering its staff some enviable perks. Now it wants to give janitors and other low-wage workers a lift as well.

The social network announced plans Wednesday to require its U.S. contractors and vendors to pay their employees at least $15 an hour and offer paid time off for sick days and vacation.

Facebook (FB, Tech30) will also require contractors to offer a $4,000 "child benefit" for workers that don't already get parental leave.

The move comes amid a growing push to raise the minimum wage, with fast-food workers and others in low-wage jobs calling for at least $15 an hour.

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"Taking these steps is the right thing to do for our business and our community," Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, wrote in a blog post.

Sandberg, an outspoken advocate for women in the workforce, said the changes are particularly important for women, since they make up the bulk of minimum-wage workers nationwide. She added that providing benefits contributes to "a happier and ultimately more productive workforce."

Related: Facebook's bus drivers set for raises after union vote

The policy went into effect May 1 for many contractors at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., but the company has plans to extend it to a broader group later this year.

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Facebook didn't say how many employees would be affected, but it likely applies to the hourly workers who clean its offices, maintain the grounds, and serve food in its corporate cafeteria.

Like most Silicon Valley companies, Facebook offers its salaried employees a host of benefits, including a lengthy parental leave and egg freezing for women who want to postpone motherhood. It's also has many unique perks like gourmet food, bus service from San Francisco and a video game arcade on its corporate campus.

Facebook is not the only big tech company making such changes. Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) said in March that it would require contractors to offer employees paid time off.

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