Contractors at Activision Blizzard got some great news yesterday about their upcoming holiday plans. After intense pushback from salaried employees, the company and its contracting partners will now be offering contractors paid time off for the holiday period, as well as expanded sick days and an increased minimum hourly rate.
The news was shared by Blizzard Entertainment senior test analyst Jessica Gonzalez, who has been fiercely criticizing Activision Blizzard after a barrage of lawsuits accused the company of fostering a culture of toxicity and sexual harassment.
An Activision Blizzard spokesperson confirmed the policy changes, saying that the changes are part of an effort to "make its workplace supportive and more inclusive."
Temporary Activision Blizzard employees had been previously dismayed to find that the company would originally be denying them work over the holiday period--without providing any paid time off. It would appear that pressure from both contractors and salaried employees convinced the company to change its tune.
The benefit improvements include paid time off for Thanksgiving and the December holiday break, an increase of the minimum hourly rate to $17 per hour, and 13 paid holidays each year starting in 2022.
Outsourcing companies that work with the company will be matching Blizzard's accruable sick day policy (an increase to nine days each year), and the company will begin "new career growth and learning programs" to improve temporary workers' development.
Both Activision Blizzard and Activision workers took credit for the policy's implementation. Activision Blizzard's statement to Game Developer says the policy changes were in the works "for some time." Worker Group A Better ABK shared news of the holiday denial back on November 4th prompting anger among employees and external developers. Gonzalez described the changes as "a result of collective action."
It's entirely possible that these changes were in the works for some time, but the fact that temporary employees received messaging telling them they'd go unpaid over the holiday period paints a sour picture of the conditions they faced up until this point.