Amazon Boosts Overtime Pay For U.S. Warehouse Workers

Amazon is temporarily boosting overtime pay for hourly workers in its U.S. warehouse to tackle an increasing number of orders due to coronavirus, according to reports.

“All hourly associates working in the U.S. Ops network will receive double their regular hourly rate for every overtime hour worked in a workweek,” Amazon reportedly said.

The hourly workers will receive double pay for overtime, up from the 1.5-times rate. It is effective from March 15 to May 9. They will qualify to receive double pay after 40 hours, the reports said.

Earlier this week, the e-commerce giant said it plans to hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers across the U.S. to meet the surge in demand from people relying on its service following the COVID-19 outbreak. The job openings would be in fulfillment centers and its delivery network. It would pay an additional $2 per hour worked over the current rate of $15 per hour or more.

Meanwhile, Amazon Chief Executive Officer and founder Jeff Bezos warned employees that the coronavirus outbreak will likely get worse before it gets better.

The company has implemented a series of preventative health measures for employees and contractors at its sites around the world — everything from increasing the frequency and intensity of cleaning to adjusting its practices in fulfillment centers to ensure the recommended social distancing guidelines, Jeff Bezos said in a blog post on Saturday.

Bezos’ letter comes a day after US senators sent a letter to Jeff Bezos asking him to respond to questions about how the company is keeping its warehouse workers safe during the coronavirus outbreak. The senators sent the letter two days after the first US-based Amazon warehouse worker tested positive for COVID-19.

Bezos also said in his letter that the company has placed purchase orders for millions of face masks that will be given to employees and contractors who cannot work from home. But, the company has received only few face masks. Masks remain in short supply globally and are at this point being directed by governments to the highest-need facilities like hospitals and clinics.

Bezos also clarified that his thinking is now wholly focused on COVID-19 and on how the company can best play its role.

There is no instruction manual for how to feel at a time like this, and he knows this causes stress for everyone, Bezos wrote in the letter.

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