Report: Amazon ceases COVID-19 hazard pay

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Report: Amazon ceases COVID-19 hazard pay

By Dan Berthiaume - 06/03/2020

Amazon has reportedly ended a temporary $2 pay hike it gave to warehouse employees as an incentive to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Business Insider, Amazon terminated the short-term pay increase for 250,000 warehouse workers on Monday, June 1. The e-tail giant had previously announced the raise would come to an end as of May 30. In addition, Amazon phased out an unlimited time off policy for workers who felt sick or unsafe coming to work at the end of April.

Business Insider cited reports indicating eight Amazon warehouse workers had died of COVID-19-related causes as of mid-May and that more than 100 of its distribution facilities have had at least one employee with a confirmed case of COVID-19. The article also quoted several anonymous warehouse employees saying they are upset that hazard pay will not continue until pandemic conditions have returned to normal.

An Amazon spokesperson said the company’s regular $15 minimum wage for warehouse workers is better than that of many competitors, including Target. Amazon has also been requiring warehouse workers to wear masks since mid-April.

Amazon has adjusted a wide variety of additional fulfillment, delivery, and in-store practices to ensure it can continue operating safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The measures, undertaken with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO), include regular sanitization of door handles, handrails, touchscreens, scanners and other frequently touched areas.

In addition, Amazon said it will spend its entire expected $4 billion second quarter profit on COVID-19-related expenses, including investments in personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning of facilities, less efficient process paths that better allow for effective social distancing, higher wages for hourly teams, and hundreds of millions to develop its own COVID-19 testing capabilities.