Amazon offering employees $5,000 to quit

Amazon.com Warehouse

NEW YORK — Amazon is offering its warehouse employees up to $5,000 to quit their jobs, even as the company is in the process of adding workers and locations.

The “Pay to Quit” program, which was announced by CEO Jeff Bezos in his letter to shareholders late Thursday, is an effort to make sure that the Internet retailer’s employees really want to be there.

“The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want,” he wrote in the letter. “In the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company.”

Bezos said the offer is made under the headline “Please Don’t Take This Offer.” Amazon offers to pay its associates to quit once a year. At first, employees are offered $2,000 to quit. That offer is increased by $1,000 each year until the amount hits $5,000.

Bezos said the idea came from Zappos, the online footwear and clothing retailer which Amazon purchased in 2009. Zappos continues to operate as a separate unit from the main Amazon site.

Amazon is in the process of adding warehouses, known as “fulfillment centers” so that it can cut delivery times to customers. Today is has 96 such locations. Company filings show it had 117,300 full-time and part-time employees at the end of last year, up by nearly a third from its employment level a year earlier.

Amazon traditionally has declined to say how much it pays its warehouse workers, although it says it pay about 30% more than a typical retail worker.

According to data gathered last year by career website Glassdoor.com, Amazon pays its warehouse workers an average hourly wage of about $12 an hour, which comes to just about $25,000 for a full year. Its full-time workers also get stock grants which Amazon said last year had averaged about 9% of employees’ pay.

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  • Richard

    I tried to work the holiday season at a fulfillment center in phoenix arizona about 2 yrs ago. I was assigned as a picker and told that “you don’t have to rush,just work at a steady pace and you will meet your goal”. That was a complete and total joke.To meet their quota as a picker you practically have to run non-stop for 12-14 hrs straight. If you have to go to the bathroom or take a full break you spend the rest of the day catching up. They absolutely do not care about employees at all. My brother passed away while I was working there and when I reported it and told them I would have to fly home to North Carolina for the funeral that was the end of my employment there. Don’t be fooled by this place.

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