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Marketplace

Microsoft wants contractors to take some time off

Nova Safo Mar 26, 2015
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Microsoft is requiring companies it contracts with to give their employees—the ones who are full-time and who do work for Microsoft—at least 15 days of paid time off.

The tech giant says it made the move because its own employees were bringing up the issue of subcontractors’ time off with the company.

“There was a concern being conveyed that these individuals, in some cases, did not get minimum time off,” says Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel.

The company is now mandating that over the next 12 months, all of its suppliers (or contractors, Smith says the term is interchangeable) with 50 or more employees offer at east 12 paid days off, or 10 vacation days and 5 sick days.

Smith says the company does not yet know how many employees or employers will be affected by the new rule, because Microsoft doesn’t know the size of all of its contractors or the employee time-off benefits those contractors currently offer.

But Microsoft says it contracts with approximately 2,000 U.S. companies. They, in turn, employ cafeteria workers, receptionists, language translators, consultants, public relations professionals, lawyers, and others.

“For companies that don’t have these benefits today. We’re asking them to change some policies that may very well increase some of their costs,” says Smith. “We went into this quite consciously aware and prepared for the cost increases that may well come back to us.”

Mike Aitken, VP of government affairs at the Society for Human Resource management, says paid time off is a worthwhile investment.

“We know that employers that offer these programs have lower turnover. They have higher engagement from these employees,” says Aitken.

An SHRM sponsored study found that almost all employers with 50 or more full-time employees offered some amount of paid time off. But, the report found that only a quarter to a third offered time off to part-time employees. And not all offered a minimum of 15 days paid time off.

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