Amazon to give $500million in one-time bonuses to frontline employees in the US who are working the holiday season amid the Covid-19 pandemic

  • Amazon said on Thursday it would spend more than $500M on one-time bonuses for its frontline employees in the USwho are working the holiday season
  • Full-time operations staff in US who are employed by Amazon from December 1 to December 31 will receive a bonus of $300, the retailer said in a blog post 
  • The online retail giant said that those workers in part-time roles will get $150

Amazon said on Thursday it would spend more than $500million on one-time bonuses for its frontline employees in the United States who are working the holiday season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Full-time operations staff in the US who are employed by Amazon from December 1 to December 31 will receive a bonus of $300, while those in part-time roles will get $150, the online retailer said in a blog post written by Dave Clark, the senior vice president of Amazon Worldwide Operations.

‘I’m grateful to our teams who continue to play a vital role serving their communities. As we head into the peak of the holiday season, we want to share our appreciation through another special recognition bonus, totaling more than $500 million for our front-line employees,’ the post reads. 

According to the post, combined with other holiday pay incentives, in this quarter alone Amazon is investing over $750million in additional pay for their frontline hourly workforce.

Amazon said on Thursday it would spend more than $500million on one-time bonuses for its front-line employees in the United States who are working the holiday season amid the COVID-19 pandemic

‘This brings our total spent on special bonuses and incentives for our teams globally to over $2.5billion in 2020, including a $500million thank you bonus earlier this year,’ Clark said. 

Clark was referring to the company’s earlier round of one-time bonuses in June when Amazon spent $500million in one-time payments to front-line employees and partners. 

‘Our teams are doing amazing work serving customers’ essential needs, while also helping to bring some much-needed holiday cheer for socially-distanced families around the world. I’ve never been more grateful for—or proud of—our teams,’ he wrote. 

Several retailers, including Walmart and Home Depot, have spent millions in bonuses to compensate staff for catering to a surge in online shopping during the pandemic.

The world’s largest online retailer has been facing intense scrutiny from US lawmakers and unions over whether it is doing enough to protect staff from the coronavirus. 

Over the summer, a guillotine was set up by protesters outside the Washington, DC, home of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Videos posted to social media at the time showed an old fashioned piece of apparatus commonly used for beheading during the French Revolution.

A sign placed underneath read: ‘Support our poor communities. Not our wealthy men.’

A report from the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), revealed Bezos has added an incredible $70.7billion to his wealth since mid-March, while an estimated 20,000 of the company’s workers have been infected by the coronavirus. 

A report from the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), revealed Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has added an incredible $70.7billion to his wealth since mid-March, while an estimated 20,000 of the company’s workers have been infected by the coronavirus

Bezos has seen his net worth grow by 61 per cent from $113billion to $182.4billion since March yet his workers do not receive hazard pay

Bezos has seen his net worth grow by 61 per cent from $113billion to $182.4billion since March yet his workers do not receive hazard pay.

Workers have spoken out about their treatment as their boss’s profits grow further.

‘While Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is on track to become the world’s first trillionaire, the frontline workers like me who’ve built his fortune are treated like we’re disposable,’ said Courtenay Brown, an Amazon Fresh warehouse worker in New Jersey and leader with United for Respect.

‘As the virus spikes, we get more and more orders, and Amazon expects us to work at inhumane rates. The pace is blistering, and people get injured on the job a lot, people get sick, people are scared of catching COVID, and Amazon is not doing enough to protect our lives.

‘It’s time for Amazon’s workers to get some actual compensation for the essential work we’re doing — we don’t need feel-good TV commercials thanking us for being heroes, we need $5 an hour in hazard pay, paid sick leave, and workplace protections from this dangerous virus.’

‘These billionaire owners are like military generals sitting in protected bubbles sending their workers into the viral line of fire with insufficient shields,’ added Chuck Collins from the Institute for Policy Studies and co-author of the report.

‘It is sordid and unseemly for some to reap such rewards when millions risk their lives, their long-term health, and their livelihoods.’

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