Amazon to spend $500M in one-time bonuses for frontline workers due to pandemic – giving full-time employees $300 each

IN a token of appreciation, Amazon said on Thursday it will give $500million in one-time bonuses to its US frontline employees who are working the holiday season during the coronavirus pandemic.

Full-time operations staff around the country who are employed Amazon from December 1 to 31 will receive a $300 bonus.

Part-timers will get an extra $150, the online retailer said in a Thanksgiving Day blog post written by Dave Clark, Amazon's Senior vice president of worldwide operations.

"I'm grateful to our teams who continue to play a vital role serving their communities," he wrote.

"As we head into the peak of the holiday season, we want to share our appreciation through another special recognition bonus, totaling more than $500million for our front-line employees."

In this quarter alone, Amazon is investing $750million in extra wages for their hourly frontline workers, according to the post.

The company has spent more than $2.5billion on special bonuses and incentives for its employees globally in 2020, Clark said.

This includes the $500million doled out in June to one-time payments for frontline workers and their partners.

"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. I've never been more grateful for—or proud of—our teams," he wrote. 

Amazon joins several retailers, including Walmart and Home Depot, who have spent million in bonuses to recognize their staff for handling a surge of online orders during the pandemic.

But the world's largest online seller has faced criticism from lawmakers and even its own employees about whether the company is doing enough to protect staff from the coronavirus.

Protesters marched outside of Jeff Bezos' $165million Beverly Hills mansion last month after 20,000 Amazon workers contracted Covid.

Labor and environmental activists congregated at Will Rogers Memorial Park in Beverly Hills on October 3 to slam the CEO and his company during the "The Wrong Amazon is Burning" protest.

In May, Nurses joined Amazon workers to protest the lack of personal protective equipment for frontline workers as part of a massive retail strike.

Days after the US outbreak was declared, hundreds of staff at one of the company's New York warehouses staged a walkout after up to seven employees died from the virus.

At least 13 Amazon sites in eight different states have had workers test positive for the disease that has killed more than 263,000 Americans and sickened more than 13 million.

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