Amazon hires more workers during COVID-19 scare

Courtesy+of+Pexels+%28Prakash+Maru%29

Courtesy of Pexels (Prakash Maru)

Amanda Salazar

Online shopping, especially on Amazon, has increased in recent weeks, as some people fear going outside and touching products at stores because they believe they could contract the virus. 

Others have turned to online shopping because in-person stores have been running out of goods, especially food and household products.

To cope with so much virtual shopping, Amazon has decided to increase both its part-time and full-time staff, despite the fact that everyone is being told to stay home if possible, to prevent spreading germs or catching germs.

Warehouse and delivery workers will get a raise of $2 per hour.

Currently, Amazon workers in the United States make around $15 an hour, sometimes a little more.

This will cost the company around $350 million.

In addition to increased pay, Amazon eased up on its attendance policy and is allowing warehouse workers to take unlimited time off until the end of March over the virus.

The company has also created the “Amazon Relief Fund” to pay their staff two full weeks of sick time if a worker is confirmed to have the coronavirus. This way, sick workers won’t feel obligated to come in and they can stay in quarantine until they get better.

Staff can only receive this two-weeks’ pay if they apply for it though because it comes in the form of a grant.

Additionally, Amazon is offering employment to those who were either permanently or temporarily laid off from their previous jobs due to the coronavirus. This includes the hospitality, restaurant and travel industries.

Many businesses and organizations have been downsizing their staff because they can no longer afford to pay them, mainly because their business has been hurt from COVID-19 and people self-isolating in their homes.

“We want those people to know we welcome them on our teams until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back,” the company said in a statement.

Amazon is advising its less hands-on staff in all countries to work from home if they are able to. This includes its office staff at the company’s headquarters in Seattle, Washington.

However, more locally, the Amazon delivery station called DBK1 located in Queens had its first case of the virus among staff last week and had closed temporarily for deep cleaning of the facilities

“We are supporting the individual who is now in quarantine,” an Amazon spokeswoman said of the sick worker. “Since the early days of this situation, we have worked closely with local authorities to proactively respond, ensuring we continue to serve customers while taking care of our associates and we’re following all guidelines from local officials about the operations of our buildings.”