January 21, 2022
Working at Amazon has a lot of pull for modern tech workers. It’s a rocketship that pays you well and looks good on your CV - but how does it stack up to against other forward thinking companies when it comes to PTO and other benefits? If it's work life balance you're seeking, there may be better alternatives.
The short answer is not that much. It starts out with a paltry 10 days in your first year and then scales the longer you have been at the company:
Compared to PTO policies at the likes of Almanac, Parabol and Zapier who all offer unlimited vacation, this is not a lot of PTO.
Full-time employees (US)are also entitled to personal leave of 6 days a year.
You’ll also get the regular holidays (7 per year) and sick leave in line with your local laws.
Read more about Amazon’s PTO here.
Amazon provides a bunch of other benefits that should not go unnoticed:
Health - choice of several medical plans including dental and vision.
Financial Security - 401(k) plan + life insurance + short/long term disability.
Restricted Stock Units (RSUs) - access to ownership of Amazon stock.
Network of Support - employee assistance program + financial counselling.
Adoption Assistance - for qualified domestic and international adoption expenses
Maternity and Parental Leave - industry unique “Leave Share” option and a flexible return-to-work program known as “Ramp Back.”
Amazon.com Employee Discount - annual discount on products sold and shipped by Amazon.com.
Amazon's PTO policy is on the lighter side. Most modern companies are offering a minimum of 20-30 days PTO right off the bat, whilst it's becoming increasingly likely to offer unlimited vacation. Based on a trusting relationship between manager and employee, vacation does not need to be tracked when employees are given the autonomy to manage their schedule and take leave whenever they feel they need it.
Remote work / Location freedom
Amazon's policy towards remote work is ambiguous - we're going to leave this decision up to individual teams. It feels a lot like it's based on luck. You might find a team that allows you to work from home 2-3 days a week. You might not. As Amazon was built very much on an in-office culture, it will be difficult for managers throughout the company to all of a sudden embrace working from anywhere and losing visibility of their teams. Modern companies on the other hand are operating 100% remote-first. There are now thousands of companies that have ditched offices all together to allow their employees the ability to work from mostly anywhere.
Async communication / Time freedom
Another important benefit emerging for modern companies is async-first communication. This is a huge benefit for employees as it provides them with greater time freedom. Following on from Amazon's resistance to embrace remote work, you should not expect to find async communication on most Amazon teams.
There is no mention of team retreats on Amazon's careers pages. This is also a more recent benefit that has followed on from remote working environments. When teams allow you to work from anywhere it becomes harder to see each other in person. Therefore team retreats once or twice a year are a great benefit to employees to allow some face time and break up their usual routines.
Amazon still has a lot to offer employees. Great pay, prestige and typical benefits. If your idea of benefits are more geared around location/time freedom and lowering your work stress then it's questionable if Amazon would be your top choice.
A new type of company is emerging today. One that creates a calm work life with the ability to control your schedule and work form anywhere.
Check out all the current job openings at teams working this way. In 2022 companies like Zapier, Gumroad, Buffer and Bolt are creating entirely new ways of working.