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Amazon Extends Wage Increases for Front-Line Workers — Here’s How Much It’s Spending

Amazon is continuing to boost pay for hourly workers through the end of the month, it announced today.

Through May 30, Amazon’s hourly employees in the U.S. and Canada will continue to receive wage hikes of $2 an hour as well as double overtime pay. The Seattle-based e-tailer had previously announced the pay increases through May 16. In total, Amazon says it has invested nearly $800 million during the coronavirus crisis to boost for pay hourly employees and partners.

Due to its status as an essential retailer, Amazon has continued operating its warehouses, even in the states and localities where stay-at-home orders are in effect to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The e-tailer has seen a spike in demand for certain products as panicked shoppers load up on household goods and shop online instead of in stores. To meet this increased demand, Amazon has hired 175,000 additional workers for full- and part-time positions since mid-March.

Since the pandemic took hold globally, Amazon said it has taken a number of steps aimed at protecting its workers from contracting COVID-19. The retailer said it has been conducting temperature checks and providing face masks to staff members in warehouses in the United States and Europe, as well as in Whole Foods stores. Additionally, the e-commerce giant says it is staggering shifts, and that it has placed markings on its floors and added signage to remind employees to social distance. Further, the company said it has increased the frequency of cleaning at all sites, including of high-touch surfaces such as elevator buttons, door and stairway handles and touch screens.

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However, Amazon has received criticism from some employees and lawmakers, who have accused the company of having inadequate safe and healthy policies. On May 1, a portion of Amazon’s staff participated in a “May Day” strike alongside workers from Target, Walmart, FedEx and Instacart. Employees of the companies joined the protest with hopes of achieving improved health and safety standards. This week, 13 U.S. attorneys general, from states including New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois, sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Whole Foods CEO John Mackey asking the leaders to address a number of possible issues, including a purported lack of personal protective equipment as well as the alleged firing of whistleblowers.

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