Facebook raises minimum pay for contractors to $15 per hour

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Facebook (FB.O) raised wages for its contract workers, such as cafeteria staff and janitors, to a minimum of $15 per hour amid rising tension over wage gap between technology sector’s elite and lower-paid workers.

Contractors will also receive a minimum of 15 days of paid vacation days and a $4,000 new child benefit for parents who do not receive parental leave, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said in a Wednesday post on Facebook.

“Taking these steps is right thing to do for our and our community,” Sandberg wrote.

Facebook implemented wage increase for some workers at its Menlo Park headquarters as of May 1. It will work to expand policy within year to its substantial vendors, who have more 25 employees and are based in the United States, she said.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”70560″]

The company declined to how many contract workers it employs or name any of its vendors. It initially had planned to announce the change on May 1, when Sandberg’s husband, SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg, died unexpectedly during an .

As debates rage in and state legislatures over whether to raise minimum wages and help mitigate a growing income gap, several corporations have taken steps to improve compensation for service workers, including Walmart, Costco (COST.O) and Starbucks (SBUX.O).

Facebook’s announcement drew praise from the White , unions and family groups.

“Corporate America is beginning to step forward to adopt these policies – in Facebook’s case, by saying the company won’t be party to poverty wages and practices that force workers to choose between job and family,” Debra Ness, of the National Partnership for Women and Families, said in a .

Silicon Valley has come under increasing pressure to close the income gap given California’s cost of living, the sixth most expensive in the country in 2014, according to data from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.

Google (GOOGL.O) took similar steps last year when it raised the minimum pay to $15 per hour for its service workers, including bus drivers, parking attendants, security guards and cafe workers in California offices. It also expanded health care coverage to all service workers on U.S. Google campuses.

(Editing by Dina Kyriakidou and David Gregorio)