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Microsoft's newest requirements for providers of contract employment services, such as for the company's building services, and other operational roles, is making a bit of a stir.
Microsoft will require all contract employee providers that provide more than 50 positions to agree to giving their employees 12 full weeks of (60 percent) paid parental leave in order to renew contracts. Notably, the new policy does not extend to all of Microsoft's suppliers, but rather just the company's partners that fulfill the staffing needs for janitorial, culinary, and/or reception roles.
Does Microsoft Really Care?
Although Microsoft provides a more generous (fully paid 12 weeks) parental leave policy for its own employees (plus up to an additional 8 weeks for birth mothers), the fact that it is pushing for contract employee providers to give their contract worker better benefits is a big deal. Just a few years ago, Microsoft made a similar push, except it required that contract employees be provided with at least 15 days of vacation and/or sick time.
These policies are a big deal because service workers, particularly those that work as contractors, generally get the shortest end of the stick when it comes to benefits. Frequently, the only paid time off these types of employees are entitled to is statutorily mandated sick time.
Alternatively though, it begs the question of why, if Microsoft cares, it continues to contract service industry employees rather than just hire these employees in house. Fortunately, the company acknowledged the fact that it will likely bear the burden of paying the contract providers more.
Provider Policies Matter
In this day and age, it is simply smart business to ensure that service providers, and even suppliers, maintain good employment practices. Consumers actually do care about how business gets done. Given that social media can take a scandal from barely known to international #FAIL meme overnight, knowing that your company's business partners treat their employees well can hedge that risk (to the extent it could be caused by a disgruntled employee).