Amazon is planning a trial that will see some of its staff working only 30 hours a week.
Instead of working the usual 40-hour week, a number of Amazon staff from the company’s human resources department will be allowed to reduce their hours to just 30. This will mean that they will earn 75% of what their full-time colleagues earn. However, they will still continue to receive all of the same benefits.
Amazon already employ a number of part-time employees, but this particular trial will involve teams of workers that are entirely made up of employees who will be on a reduced schedule and will also include staff at manager level.
A report by The New York Times last year, criticised the retailer for its working conditions. It claimed that the company was encouraging staff to work long hours, in some cases up to 80 hours a week, with some workers rarely taking any time off.
The pilot scheme will mean that the employees involved will be working Monday to Thursday from 10am to 2pm, with additional flexible hours. They will have the option to change to full-time if they prefer. The staff chosen for the trial will be recruited from both inside and outside of Amazon.
Amazon say that at the moment, they are not planning to make any significant company-wide changes to their 40-hour working week and this will just be a trial of ‘a few dozen’ staff.
Amazon has not yet announced when this trial will start, and for how long it will run for. But once it does begin, it is expected to result in an increase in employee morale and productivity.
Like a number of big tech firms, Amazon has an unbalanced ratio of male and female workers, particularly in senior roles. A 30-hour week could help to attract more female workers who are looking for more of a work and family life balance.
If this trial is successful, other large employers may be encouraged to review their organisations’ working hours.