Facebook enters the minimum wage fight

Facebook joins wage battle
Facebook joins wage battle

Workplace benefits at Silicon Valley's biggest names including Google and Apple are the stuff of legend. Now tech powerhouse Facebook is entering the minimum wage fight, implementing new standards on benefits for its contractors and vendors.

Vendors or contractors in the U.S.who do a "substantial amount of work" with the social media company will be required to pay their workers at least $15 an hour. Other requirements include offering at least 15 paid days off for vacation, sick pay and holidays.

Additionally, individuals who do not currently receive parental leave will be offered $4,000 in "new child" benefits, according to a blog posted on Facebook by COO Sheryl Sandberg.

"We are committed to providing a safe, fair work environment to everyone who helps Facebook connect the world," Sandberg wrote in the post. "This is an important step forward in this work for us."

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While other tech companies have boosted benefits for some security guards and shuttle drivers, Facebook is among the first tech giants to publicly take a stance on the minimum wage. The federal minimum wage stands at $7.25 an hour.

Facebook joins other large corporations that already have raised wages, including Wal-Mart, Gap, McDonald's and T.J. Maxx.

Pulse of small business
Pulse of small business

The minimum wage debate is intensifying heading into the 2016 election. And now Silicon Valley is weighing in.

The question now is whether other tech leaders will follow suit and raise wages and benefits. "All of this helps to move the argument forward—the writing is on the wall," said Holly Sklar, president of advocacy group Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. "Too many Silicon Valley companies have employees with great pay and benefits and perks, but historically use contractors with little or no benefits."

Facebook's new benefits took effect May 1 for its largest vendors and support teams at the company's Menlo Park, California, headquarters.

A Facebook representative declined to comment on what will happen to vendors who don't comply with the new rules. However, the representative did say the company worked with its vendors on the benefit changes so the new rules were not sprung on them.