Facebook ups wages, benefits for contract workers

COO Sheryl Sandberg outlined a bevy of new measures for Facebook's contractors and vendors in the United States.

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Now the world's largest social network is taking a stand a little closer to home with a new set of guidelines that should better protect the interests of some of its own employees.

Effective May 1, Facebook is now guaranteeing its contract workers and vendors with a $15 minimum wage and a minimum of 15 paid days off for holidays, sick time and vacation.

By comparison, minimum wage in California has been $9 per hour since July 2014. It is set to increase to $10 in 2016.

Furthermore, for workers who don't receive paid parental leave, Facebook has also committed to a $4,000 new child benefit for new parents.

"This will give both women and men the flexibility to take paid parental leave, an important step for stronger families and healthier children," wrote Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg in a blog post on Wednesday.

The new measures initially affect workers at Facebook's Menlo Park headquarters in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Sandberg promised the social network would be extending these benefits to "a broader set of vendors within the year," which she defined to include "workers who do substantial work for Facebook and who are employed by companies based in the US with more than 25 employees supporting Facebook."

"Research also shows that providing adequate benefits contributes to a happier and ultimately more productive workforce," Sandberg added.

Not only does Facebook's very public wage increase signify an aim to push its tech industry neighbors to do the same, but it also reflects a growing trend among corporations answering the climate of the U.S. labor market.

McDonalds, for example, announced in April a $1 wage increase over locally-mandated minimum wages, effective July 1, 2015. The move will affect more than 90,000 workers nationwide.

Earlier on Wednesday, Facebook introduced a new digital publishing product, dubbed Instant Articles, intended to provide readers with interactive and speedy content.

At the same time, Instant Articles will equip content providers such as The New York Times and National Geographic, among others, with new tools to make their content more interactive. These functions include video auto-play, audio captions, interactive maps and more.

The resulting accumulated data can be accessed via Internet analytics provider ComScore. Publishers can then use that data to sell ads in articles or through Facebook's Audience Network to monetize content.