Company culture

How Amazon's frugality shows up in its employee benefits

Widely known to have the worst benefits amongst FAANG, here's what you get at Amazon.

There are a plethora of reasons you might want to work at Amazon, though for most, it probably comes down to brand recognition. Having “Amazon” permanently stamped on your resume can open a lot of doors.

Amazon is commonly known for its PIP culture, non-existent work-life balance, and poor benefits. This is not exactly surprising considering one of Amazon’s leadership principles is frugality. But a role at Amazon is still widely coveted, especially if it's your only FAANG offer.

Though you can expect more than just free bananas, the benefits are still subpar compared to other FAANG. Let’s take a look at what the tech giant offers.

Differences for salaried vs hourly employees
This article highlights the benefits for salaried employees. There are some differences if you’re an hourly employee at Amazon – visit for more information.

Health benefits are fairly standard

Medical, dental, and vision

Health insurance at Amazon is fairly standard compared to the tech industry as a whole, though less than what you can expect from other FAANG. For example, Amazon employees report higher monthly premiums than at other FAANG.

Amazon has flexible options for medical plans with Aetna, Premera Blue Cross, and Kaiser for you and any dependents. These plans come with varying deductibles and out-of-pocket costs (there is no deductible with the Kaiser plan). All plans cover 100% of preventive care.

There are basic and enhanced dental plan options available through Delta Dental. Both plans have deductibles of $50 for an individual employee and $150 if you’re including dependents. Both plans also cover 100% of preventive care visits. They differ in that the enhanced plan has coverage for major restorative and orthodontic procedures.

Amazon also offers basic and enhanced plans for vision coverage. Both plans fully cover a yearly eye exam. The only difference is that the basic plan covers 1 pair of contacts or glasses and the enhanced plan covers 2 pairs.

Abortion healthcare

In light of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Amazon is offering financial support to employees who must travel to receive reproductive care because they live in states with restrictive laws.

NBC New York explains, “Amazon will pay up to $4,000 in travel expenses for abortions and other non-life threatening medical procedures. The benefit applies if the medical care is not available within 100 miles of an employee’s home, Reuters reported. Among other procedures covered: cardiology, cellular gene therapies and substance-abuse disorder programs. The benefit is retroactive to Jan. 1. For life-threatening medical problems, Amazon offers to $10,000 in travel reimbursements.”

Financial benefits you won’t write home about

Low 401(k) match

You may hear employees complain about Amazon’s 401(k) plan – that’s because it’s just not that good compared to other tech giants. Amazon offers up to a 2% match. The company will contribute $0.50 for every $1 you contribute to your 401(k), up to 4% of your eligible pay.

Amazon offers 3 options for your 401(k) contributions: pre-tax, Roth, or after-tax. You can contribute between 1% to 90% of your eligible pay to your 401(k) in accordance with the IRS limit.

Disability insurance

Amazon offers disability insurance at no cost to employees. Both short-term and long-term disability coverage give you 60% of eligible salary up to certain limits.

For short-term disability benefits, you’ll have a waiting period of 7 days and then benefits will be paid out for up to 26 weeks. For long-term disability benefits, there is a waiting period of 180 days and then benefits will be paid out for a period of time depending on the disability.

Life insurance

Amazon offers a few different options for life and AD&D insurance. The company provides 2 times your annual base salary for Basic Life and AD&D Insurance at no cost to you.

Supplemental life insurance is also available and goes to your beneficiaries if you die. You can purchase coverage of 1x to 10x your annual base salary, up to $2,000,000.

Note that you can also purchase supplemental AD&D insurance to cover yourself and eligible dependents of 1x to 10x your annual base salary, up to $2,000,000.

The time off policy has improved

PTO is decent

Many of Amazon's benefits reward employees who have been with the company for a long time, and the PTO policy is no different.

Amazon’s PTO model depends on your tenure. The company uses a 15-20-25 PTO model, meaning you get 15 vacation days in year 1, 20 vacation days in year 2+, and 25 vacation days in year 6+.

You also get 9 holidays and up to 3 floating holidays per year. The number of sick days you get depends on your local, city, and state ordinances.

Employees report that flexibility with PTO is very manager dependent – some managers will allow you to take more than the allotted PTO structure.

One employee on Blind explained, “Really manager dependent. But generally, if you do well, I don’t think any manager will frown upon it. Unlimited PTOs are accounting scams because companies will not have to accrue it. It’s really culture and manager and org most of the time.”

Underwhelming pregnancy & parental leave

For pregnant employees, you’ll receive up to four weeks of paid leave pre-partum, conditional on medical recommendation, and 10 weeks of paid leave post-partum. Note that your RSUs and any applicable sign-on bonus payments will continue to according to your current schedule.

To be eligible for parental leave (for adoptive and non-birthing parents), you must have 1 continuous year of employment at the time of birth or adoption. You can receive 6 weeks of paid leave following the birth or adoption of a child, and it can be used as 1 consecutive period or split into 2 periods. Note that your RSU vesting schedule will suspend after 14 days of leave anted resume upon return to work with an adjusted vest schedule.

Ramp Back program as you return to work

Both birthing parents and primary caregivers can use Amazon’s Ramp Back program when returning to work. This means you can work reduced hours over 8 weeks – either 50% for eight weeks, 50% for four weeks/75% for four weeks, or 75% for eight weeks. Your pay will be adjusted accordingly.

Other perks also fall short

Amazon offers some additional benefits and perks:

  • Get reimbursed for qualified adoption expenses up to $5,000 for a single-child adoption or $10,000 combined maximum for a sibling-group adoption
  • 10% discount for Amazon merchandise
  • Discount program for travel, event tickets, cell phone services, restaurants, entertainment, sports, and more
  • Free membership to Sittercity and Years Ahead
  • Discounted rates on legal advice and full coverage for certain legal services with MetLife
  • Save up to 20% when you enroll with ASPCA Pet Health Insurance
  • Check with your manager about a home office setup expense, phone bill reimbursement, and WiFi reimbursement benefits
  • You may also be able to get a $10,000 tuition reimbursement with manager approval
  • And of course, free bananas

Overall thoughts

Landing a career at Amazon is no easy task and can certainly open a lot of doors for you, but it’s worth weighing the benefits alongside the culture, work-life balance, and salary.

And though salary tends to be a huge draw at Amazon, there are a few areas where Amazon is lacking in this department as well. The RSU vesting schedule is backloaded (5-15-40-40) meaning that if you leave after year 2, you’ll only receive 20% of your RSU package. Refreshers are also known to be poor because the system takes current grants into account when determining future grants.

Salary is also not meeting expectations as noted by an Amazon employee on Blind, “The pay simply has not scaled. Another thing Amazon does: when you get promoted, you get bottom of the new band for salaries.”

So, is it worth it? Hopefully, you have a more complete picture with all of Amazon’s benefits out on the table.

👉 To learn more about Amazon’s PIP culture and the best/worst teams, read: What You Didn't Know About Amazon's Work Culture

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