Social media giant Facebook is raising minimum wages for contract workers to up to USD 20 per hour in the US, and said it is working on developing similar standards for other countries.
The US-based company had drawn flak after reports of contract workers facing tough work conditions and getting low compensation came out. These reports suggested that some workers also suffered from post-traumatic stress.
It conceded that its current minimum wages for contract staff may be insufficient to meet the cost of living in some of the places it operates in.
"It's become clear that USD 15 per hour doesn't meet the cost of living in some of the places where we operate. After reviewing a number of factors including third-party guidelines, we're committing to a higher standard that better reflects local costs of living," Facebook Vice-President (Human Resource) Janelle Gale and Arun Chandra (VP of Scaled Operations) said in a blogpost.
They added that the minimum wage has been raised to USD 20 per hour in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City and Washington DC, and USD 18 per hour in Seattle.
"We'll be implementing these changes by mid-next year and we're working to develop similar standards for other countries," they said.
The blog said workers in the US, who review content on Facebook, will receive even higher wages.
"Their work is critical to keeping our community safe, and it's often difficult. That's why we've paid content reviewers more than minimum wage standards, and why we will surpass this new living wage standard as well. We'll pay at least USD 22 per hour to all employees of our vendor partners based in the Bay Area, New York City and Washington, D.C," it pointed out.
Content reviewers in Seattle will receive USD 20 per hour, while those in all other metro areas in the US will get USD 18.
"As with all people who do contract work, we're working to develop similar international standards. This work is ongoing, and we'll continue to review wages over time," the blog said.
In 2015, Facebook had introduced a minimum wage of USD 15 per hour; a minimum 15 paid days off for holidays, sick time and vacation; and for new parents that don't receive paid leave -- a USD 4,000 new child benefit. A year later, it asked its vendors in the US to provide comprehensive healthcare to all of their employees assigned to Facebook.
The social media giant said all content reviewers - whether full-time employees or those employed by partner companies - have access to well-being and resiliency resources.
"We're working to make contracts across our Global Operations vendor partners consistent. This includes requirements like quality-focused incentives, no sub-contracting, overtime and premiums for nightshifts and weekends, and healthcare that meets the standards of the Affordable Care Act in the US and appropriate healthcare standards internationally," the blog said.
The company is mandating all vendor partners to provide on-site counselling during all hours of operations, and is also rolling out a resiliency survey -- to be conducted twice a year -- to all partner sites globally to "get a better sense of the needs of our reviewers".