Amazon extends hourly wage bump for warehouse workers in light of the coronavirus
The company had added $2 for each hour worked on top of the minimum hourly wage of $15. In the UK and European countries, the increase amounted to £2 per hour and €2 per hour respectively. For Canada, it was C$2 per hour worked. These revised rates were to last through the end of this month initially.
Under the new announcement, the increased rate will apply through May 16. Moreover, the company has also extended double overtime pay in the US and Canada.
Amazon says that this extension will increase its investment in pay during the outbreak to around $700 million. While this sure sounds great, it is also worth highlighting here that unlike most other companies, Amazon’s business is not suffering because of COVID-19. In fact, sales have apparently skyrocketed, and the company is also on a hiring spree, which goes on to show that demand for its services has increased during the pandemic.
Unlike corporate office employees, warehouse workers cannot work from home. And thus, it makes sense to provide them an incentive so they keep working during these testing times. An Amazon warehouse worker has already died because of the virus, and many have tested positive.
Unlimited unpaid time off policy has seemingly not been expanded
The e-commerce giant is also giving flexibility with leave of absence options. However, it hasn’t said if it will also extend the unlimited unpaid time off policy that was announced last month. This policy enabled workers to take some unpaid time off without having to worry about any consequences such as penalties. However, it seems like beginning next month, workers who wish to stay home will have to use their accrued time off i.e. the leaves they have remaining or ask for a leave of absence, which will be granted if a worker has an existing health condition or lives with someone who does. That’s because such individuals are more susceptible to coronavirus. Other workers will apparently have to get back to work.