Amazon will convert the majority of the jobs it added during the pandemic into permanent roles, the e-tailer said today.
Since mid-March, the Seattle-based company hired 175,000 temporary workers to keep up with a coronavirus-related spike in demand. The e-commerce giant revealed today that it will give 125,000 of those employees the opportunity to stay on post-pandemic.
“Like other companies, we hired these individuals for seasonal roles to meet a surge in demand and, for many, there was the hope of returning back to their previous companies once states began to re-open,” Amazon said in a statement. “As the long-term picture becomes more clear, we’re providing the opportunity for 125,000 of those who came on with us seasonally to stay with Amazon and transition into a regular, full-time role beginning in June.”
Employees who choose to stay at Amazon in regular, full-time roles will receive comprehensive benefit packages with wages of at least $15 per hour. During the coronavirus pandemic, Amazon had provided workers with a pay bump of $2 an hour as well as double overtime pay, but the e-tailer has announced that the wage hikes will not continue into June. The company says it has invested more than $800 million to boost hourly pay for employees and partners during the health crisis.
Since mid-March, the U.S. economy has been shedding jobs at a historically high pace — with over 40 million initial unemployment claims filed since the pandemic ramped up. The May jobs report, which is slated for release on June 5, is expected to show an unemployment rate of just under 20%, up from 14.7% in April.
Amid the coronavirus crisis, Amazon has been one of the few firms to add jobs, along with other so-called essential retailers including Walmart, Dollar General and Kroger. However, most of these posts were considered temporary as companies looked to keep up with heightened demand for certain household goods and other products.