Amazon’s new part-time work program is built on flexibility.  The program “was created with Amazon’s diverse workforce in mind,” and will offer a balanced work-life schedule for employees with a variety of lifestyles and schedules.

Paolo Gaudiano and Ellen Hunt from Forbes magazines took a deeper look into Amazon’s new program and analyzed how the part-time work philosophy will affect workplace diversity and ROI.

According to Gaudiano and Hunt, there are two novel features of Amazon’s program. “First, their part-time employees, while earning proportionately less than their full-time colleagues, will get full benefits such as health insurance. Second, and more interesting, is that Amazon created “teams that are entirely comprised of part-time employees, including managers.”

When questioning the impact of Amazon’s program on their blog, feedback was mixed.  While some supported it as a benefit for low-income groups (specifically single parent households), others questioned the term “part-time”.  If employees are taking unfinished work home for completion, the idea of a part-time job is superficial.  One finding did stand out for the pair.  Of 400 companies, 80% offered flexible “arrangements to employees, only 37% of those surveyed reported that they have a formal, written philosophy or policy to support employee flexibility options.” 

In my opinion, we cannot fully determined if Amazon’s new part time program will impact workplace diversity.  There are benefits however.  I believe single parents have the most to gain from a program like this, and thus should be kept and expanded for that reason alone.

-Ray Hayes