Amazon doubling overtime pay for warehouse workers
Amazon said it will double the overtime pay for warehouse workers as the coronavirus pandemic has increased demand for online orders, the company announced Saturday.
Hourly workers in Amazon’s U.S. warehouses who work over 40 hours will receive double, instead of 1.5-times, pay between March 15 and May 9, according to an announcement obtained by Reuters.
“My own time and thinking is now wholly focused on COVID-19 and on how Amazon can best play its role,” Jeff Bezos said in an online announcement.
Bezos also said Amazon has ordered “millions” of face masks for its staff. But because of their short supply, masks are going to “highest-need facilities” like hospitals as directed by the government.
“When our turn for masks comes, our first priority will be getting them in the hands of our employees and partners working to get essential products to people,” he said
The company announced a pay increase less than a week ago for hourly associates from $15 an hour to $17. It also said it will hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the U.S. as many practice social distancing by staying in their homes.
Amazon has also implemented unlimited unpaid time off designed for employees who fall ill during the pandemic. The first warehouse employee in the U.S. tested positive for COVID-19, leading for the entire facility to be shut down in New York.
Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) sent a letter to Bezos on Friday, warning the company has not done enough to protect its workers during the pandemic.
Menendez reportedly praised the double overtime pay initiative but said the company needed to do more, according to Reuters.