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Multiple jobs, sleeping in cars and other ways Facebook workers struggle to get by

You often hear about the top-notch employee perks at Facebook: Its headquarters in Menlo Park offers free meals, dry cleaning and even a barber shop.

What you don't often hear about are the contract workers, from bicycle mechanics to cafeteria workers, who keep everything running.

Full-time employees "have free laundry, haircuts, free food at any time, free gym," Maria Gonzalez, a janitor at Facebook, tells The Guardian. "It's not the same for janitors. We just leave with the check."

And despite Facebook's minimum wage of $15, which it established for all of its contractors in 2015, the paychecks don't go far around San Francisco, where the cost of living is 62 percent higher than the U.S. average.

One contractor, Jiovanny Martinez, can't make ends meet with just his wages from the tech giant. The security guard at Facebook also drives Lyft and works as a park ranger to support his family, The Guardian reports.

Sky-high rent prices in San Francisco are forcing lots of employees to get creative with housing.

A married couple named Nicole and Victor — both contract workers in the cafeteria at Facebook's headquarters — are living in a two-car garage with their three children.

They borrow money from friends and family to stay afloat, they tell The Guardian in a separate article, and occasionally resort to payday loans. They cannot afford Facebook's health care plan.

And it's not just the contractors who are struggling to get by.

Unique Parsha, who earns well above Facebook's minimum wage as a content specialist, sleeps in the backseat of her car in a 24-Hour Fitness parking lot.

Between her student loans and other bills, housing in the Bay Area is unaffordable, she tells The Guardian: "It's not enough pay to survive based on the rent that's out there. How can people survive? A one-bedroom is at least $1,800. That's my whole check right there."

Some engineers have even gone so far as to ask their boss Mark Zuckerberg for help. And Facebook isn't ignoring the issue.

The company plans to turn the 56-acre Menlo Science & Technology Park it bought in 2015 into a company town they're calling the Willow Campus. It will include a grocery store, pharmacy and shopping center, and 1,500 new housing units, 15 percent of which will be priced below the market rate.

We've reached out to the company for comment and will update the story when we hear back.

A rendering for Facebook's "Willow Campus" development in Menlo Park, California.
A rendering for Facebook's "Willow Campus" development in Menlo Park, California.

Meanwhile, it's not just employees at Facebook who are having trouble coping in Silicon Valley. A Twitter employee earning $160,000 in San Francisco says he's barely scraping by and even several tech workers making between $100,000 and $700,000 a year find themselves rent-burdened.

Things are even worse in San Francisco for employees working in different sectors. Doctors can't afford 58 percent of the homes in the city, according to Trulia, and teachers can expect to put up to 77 percent of their income toward housing, reports Curbed San Francisco.

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