Amazon will provide term-time-only employment to parents

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Amazon. image source: GETTY IMAGES

Amazon has introduced a new policy that allows parents and grandparents working in their warehouses the option to choose term-time only employment.

This initiative aims to provide flexibility and support for employees who have children or grandchildren attending school.

By opting for term-time only work, these individuals can align their work schedule with the academic calendar, allowing them to spend more time with their families during school holidays.

This policy is designed to promote work-life balance and accommodate the needs of Amazon’s employees who are also caregivers.

Under the new contract introduced by Amazon, individuals with childcare responsibilities will have the opportunity to take six weeks of holiday during the summer, as well as two weeks each during Easter and Christmas.

This policy aims to provide dedicated time off for parents and guardians to spend with their children during school breaks.

However, the GMB union, which is actively seeking recognition from Amazon, expressed the view that while flexible working options are appreciated, most workers are primarily concerned about improving their wages.

The union stated that many employees struggle to make ends meet due to low pay, referring to it as “poverty pay.”

Neil Travis, Amazon’s regional operations director, expressed his hope that the introduction of flexible working opportunities will attract more individuals to join the workforce.

The company aims to provide an environment that accommodates the needs of employees while also encouraging participation in the workplace.

Mr. Travis noted that Amazon actively listens to its employees’ views and requests, which has resulted in the introduction of more flexible work options.

The necessity of providing opportunities that fit the requirements and preferences of its personnel was acknowledged by the organization.

Furthermore, he underlined that, despite the flexibility in working hours, persons who choose term-time only employment will continue to be eligible for full-time benefits.

This ensures that employees may continue to take use of Amazon’s perks and support, reflecting the company’s commitment to providing a complete benefits package to its workforce.

According to Claire McCartney of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, only 4% of employees work throughout the school year.

”With the cost and availability of childcare posing significant obstacles for working parents, term-time working is expected to have a positive influence on attraction and retention at a time when organizations are facing skills shortages,” Ms McCartney said.

Amazon is offering the new contract at the same time as it is fighting the GMB’s attempt to become Europe’s first trade union recognized by the firm.

Amazon presently employs approximately 70,000 people in the United Kingdom. The corporation has declared that it does not believe unionization is essential or suitable.

Instead of using a union as an intermediary, Amazon seeks to engage in direct talks and communication with its employees.

It is worth mentioning that workers at Amazon’s Coventry operation have gone on strike for a total of 16 days this year. Their main demand is that their hourly wage be increased to £15.

These employees are lobbying for more pay in order to address what they consider to be inadequate pay rates for their work at Amazon.

Amanda Gearing, senior organiser of GMB, stated that while flexible staff contracts are good, the workforce’s major issue is improved pay.

“At the moment, increased pay is their top priority,” she explained. “They want more money in their pockets; what they’re saying to us is that they can’t live on meager wages.”

Amazon responded by noting that their pay rates are competitive and that a 10% wage increase was just enacted.

According to GMB, the majority of Amazon Coventry warehouse workers want union participation, forcing the group to seek statutory registration from the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC).

The union claims that 800 employees in Coventry have joined as members, representing the majority of the staff.

Mr. Travis declined to provide a direct answer when questioned about the potential of recognizing GMB if they could establish majority support among Coventry employees.

“The GMB has formally applied to the CAC, and we are cooperating with the CAC throughout this process,” he remarked.

Mr. Travis stated, “Our primary focus remains on directly engaging with our employees, offering competitive pay rates, and comprehensive benefits.”

Amazon may raise arguments contesting the GMB’s estimation of the number of employees operating in the warehouse in its submission to the CAC.

If Amazon can successfully demonstrate that there are more workers than the GMB says, it may influence the CAC’s decision to refuse the GMB recognition.

The CAC’s final decision will be based on the evidence and arguments offered by both Amazon and the GMB.

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