Facebook Inc. is increasing pay and benefits for contract workers and vendor employees, joining Silicon Valley companies that are taking steps to narrow the compensation gap in the region.

The new standards include a minimum wage of $15 an hour and at least 15 paid days off for holidays, sick time and vacation, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. For workers who don’t receive paid parental leave, the social-networking company has a $4,000 new-child benefit. California’s minimum wage is set to increase by $1 to $10 an hour in January. The national rate is $7.25.

Facebook’s changes took effect May 1 for some of its largest support teams at its Menlo Park, California, headquarters.

The social network is the latest among Silicon Valley companies boosting compensation for contractors whose work can include food service, grounds maintenance and communications. Shuttle-bus drivers serving Facebook, Apple Inc., EBay Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. voted in February to unionize. Apple agreed in March to 25 percent raises for its drivers. Microsoft Corp. said the same month that it would provide contract workers at least 15 paid days off annually.

“Taking these steps is the right thing to do for our business and our community,” Sandberg wrote. “Research also shows that providing adequate benefits contributes to a happier and ultimately more productive workforce.”

Facebook’s policy will be implemented more broadly within the year, the company said. The expansion will include people who do substantial work for Facebook and who are employed by companies based in the U.S. with more than 25 workers supporting the social network.

U.S. staffing companies hire out 14 million contractors a year, according to an estimate by the American Staffing Association. About 1.8 million of those work in the information technology, scientific and engineering fields.


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