Amazon is reportedly piloting a program that will allow some technical teams to clock in just 30 hours per week.
These employees will be salaried and receive the same benefits as those working traditional 40-hour weeks, but their pay will be reduced proportionally by 25%, reports the Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
A few dozen technical employees will test the shorter schedule. They are expected to work Monday through Thursday from 10am to 2pm with flexibility outside of those hours. This ensures that employees working 30 hours a week will have at least 16 hours of overlap with their other colleagues.
Although Amazon said it does not intend to extend the experiment to all departments, it believes the initiative will help improve gender diversity. At a recent event hosted by the company, it admitted that the “traditional full-time schedule may not be a ‘one size fits all’ model.”
The proposed reduction in hours comes a year after a scathing New York Times investigation. Interviewing more than 100 current and former employees, the article portrayed Amazon as a cut-throat environment that drove many to quit. Not only were 80-hour workweeks almost expected, employees were reportedly penalized when personal problems interfered with their work. Senior vice president Jay Carney had refuted the allegations.
The less intensive schedules could also boost productivity. People who log fewer hours at the office are more productive and consequently, better paid, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. And as tech jobs exchange hands from humans to robots, a reduced workweek could poise a win-win situation for both employees and employers.