Amazon is handing out bonuses to front-line associates who are working through the holiday shopping season as the number of COVID-19 cases surge across the United States.
In a post on its website, the e-commerce giant announced that full-time employees employed from Dec. 1 through Dec. 31 will qualify for an additional $300, while part-time workers are eligible for a $150 bonus.
“I’ve been at Amazon for 22 holiday seasons, and this one is definitely unique, to say the least,” wrote Dave Clark, SVP of the retailer’s global operations. “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.”
Amazon engaged in mass hiring efforts early this year as the COVID-19 outbreak drove a surge in demand for essential items. In March, April and May, it hired 175,000 additional workers for full- and part-time positions. The following month, in June, it doled out one-time “Thank You” bonuses totaling more than $500 million. (Full-time employees, delivery Service Partners and Whole Foods Market staff received $500 each, while part-time workers in the same roles were paid $250.)
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In this quarter, the Seattle-based corporation shared that it has invested more than $750 million in pay incentives for its front-line workforce. That brings its total spend on bonuses to more than $2.5 billion so far this year. The retailer’s minimum wage for all U.S.-based employees currently stands at $15 per hour — more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
Amazon is also working through health-related concerns regarding its workforce: Early last month, the company reported that 19,816 workers across its labor force had either tested positive or been presumed positive for COVID-19, which has sickened more than 12.88 million people in the U.S. alone. (The company said it conducted a “thorough analysis of data” on all of its 1,372,000 U.S.-based Amazon and Whole Foods Market front-line associates who were employed at any time from March 1 to Sept. 19.)