Amazon to pay $500 million one-time bonuses to front-line workers, employees

Tech-giant Amazon said that it would spend $500 million on bonuses for workers who stuck throughout the June during the coronavirus crisis. Amazon has been under scrutiny from the US lawmakers on grounds of whether it does enough for the protection of its workers.

The $500 million is a "Thank You bonus" to front-line workers who were with the company throughout June. Amazon eliminated the $2 hourly wage double overtime pay for frontline workers at the end of May.

The one-time bonuses will vary on the kind of job the workers carry out. Full-time employees of Amazon, Amazon-owned Whole Foods, or drivers for delivery service partners will get $500. Part-time employees, or drivers will get $250. Front-line leaders at Amazon and Whole Foods will get $1,000. And delivery service partner owners, who help get packages to customers, will get $3,000. Drivers for Amazon Flex who worked more than 10 hours in June will get $150.

Dave Clark, senior vice president of worldwide operations said, "Our front-line operations teams have been on an incredible journey over the last few months, and we want to show our appreciation with a special one-time Thank You bonus totalling over $500 million."

Amazon witnessed rising demands in the backdrop of the global pandemic as people looked for essentials and groceries while staying home. However, the company was not very open when it came to sharing the number of COVID 19-positive cases among the company.

A report stated that Amazon has not been very transparent when it comes to releasing the numbers of employees being tested positive with COVID-19. Amazon senior vice president of worldwide operations Dave Clark called statistics on infections “not a particularly useful number,” the report stated.

"We have requested but not received information on how many of the Companies’ workers have been infected with COVID-19, and how many have died from it," a letter from 13 state attorneys general stated.

New York Attorney General Letitia James' interviewed Amazon workers from several Amazon facilities in New York City as part of an investigation into worker concerns over coronavirus-related safety measures.

Earlier this month, Amazon launched an AI to maintain social distancing among its workers and to prevent the risk of contracting coronavirus among them.

Amazon in response to a lawsuit in Staten island over coronavirus protections said that 150 "process changes" to its operations to enhance safety. So far, there have been 8 reported deaths from Amazon due to COVID-19.