When your kid gets sick, your daycare provider breaks a leg, or there's a snow day, finding a backup provider can be difficult if not impossible. So, it's understandable that a group of Amazon employees, who call themselves "Momazonians" want Amazon to step in and provide a backup childcare perk.
There are lots of good reasons for a business to do this--it makes your workforce more stable, it can help you attract women (more about that later), and may ultimately help the bottom line.
Bezos says no. Should he reconsider? Maybe.
A benefit for "women."
Women, even women with full-time jobs, do the overwhelming majority of childcare. But where is dad?
This is being touted as something to attract moms, and it certainly would be, but the "Momazonians" are missing out on a key factor: Dad. This isn't an issue just for moms, but for parents.
When my oldest started daycare, we were lucky enough that my husband's company offered onsite daycare. This meant that she went to work with dad, sometimes ate lunch with dad, and manipulated dad into stopping on the way home for chocolate muffins and new shoes. (She was very good at getting him to buy her things.)
I went off to work without concern about where she was. Her daycare was awesome, and dad was the parent on speed dial when she went through her biting phase.
While, in practical terms, this backup daycare is something that women are asking for, they are doing so because they assume that they are responsible for arranging the child care.
This is fine, if this is the decision that each set of parents has made. Please feel free to arrange your family and your responsibilities as you see fit. But, maybe if we focused more on this being a "Parentzonian" issue than a "Momazonian" issue, we could see why this benefits the business as a whole.
Amazon probably isn't the place to fight this battle
Bezos has never been the champion of work-life balance. Amazon has a reputation--a bad one--for being the type of place where you're expected to dedicate your entire soul to the company. While I, personally, have zero desire to work in such a place, I could probably earn more money if I did.
That's the great thing about choice. If you're good enough to work at Amazon, you're good enough to work someplace else that might care more about balancing parenthood and jobs. I think Amazon would be wise to offer this benefit, as their competitors do.
On the other hand, if I wanted to build a good business, I might establish a backup daycare center next to Amazon offices. It's an opportunity for an entrepreneur to make money.