For those unfamiliar with working at Amazon, the tech giant has had a “pay-to-quit” policy for its employees since 2014. The offer allows workers to obtain a fee for leaving the company, with the agreement that they’d never return. With Amazon experiencing staff shortages due to COVID, the company is reversing its policies.
For 2022, Amazon is putting its “pay-to-quit” for most employees on an indefinite hiatus. This $5,000 quitting bonus mainly parses out workers after the company’s busier holiday months. Though Bezos has gone on record saying the program is intended to push ex-employees into other workforces, it doesn’t seem like the company’s primary financial goal. Though the quitting bonus helped Amazon shed its employees during the slower periods, the corporation paused the program due to nationwide staff shortages.
The “pay-to-quit” bonus is no longer a standard offer, but Bezos added that certain employees will still be eligible to receive the extra cash. Employees who graduated from Amazon’s Career Choice training program are the only workers eligible for the quitting money. The 2022 plan also comes with a new addendum: employees from the training program can only receive the bonus up to 90s days after graduation. This puts confusing expectations on employees wanting to further their work with the tech company.
A representative for Amazon, Karen Riley Sawyer, confirmed these changes to the “pay-to-quit” bonus. They stated that the program was exclusive for Career Choice graduates, but pushing these employees out of the company is supposed to galvanize them into new careers. Many believe the primary source of this quitting bonus change is due to COVID complications in Amazon warehouses.
At the beginning of January, an Amazon warehouse was hit with a massive worker shortage. This facility in New York had 1,800 employees who called out sick due to the infectious Omicron variant. Before this massive outbreak, that specific warehouse was already experiencing widespread worker shortages. The insidiousness of COVID is echoed through Amazon facilities across the country.
Some experts believe that Amazon could make a workforce comeback with competitive pay. With starting pay now at $15 an hour, Amazon might be one of the best companies for low-wage workers. Still, the corporation experienced higher turnover rates than ever before, seeing employees depart from the company at exorbitant rates.
Until Amazon exhausts the labor pool in the distant future, the corporation is investing in automation to eliminate staffing insecurities. In 26 of Amazon’s warehouses, robots and humans work side by side to accomplish daily tasks. In these facilities, robotic automation is responsible for carrying inventory or transporting various items between buildings. With robots conducting more mobile, perfunctory tasks, human workers can focus on performing skillful labor.
For Amazon, immediate hiring is still a current issue. With the highest employee turnover rate in its history, the company faces a competitive labor market that needs more benefits from its employers. Stricter qualification guidelines for Amazon’s “pay-to-quit” program aren’t doing the company any favors since many are looking for quick cash amid a raging pandemic.
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