Amazon to hire 75,000 more workers as demand rises due to coronavirus

A worker loads customer orders into a waiting tractor-trailer inside the million-square foot Amazon distribution warehouse that opened last fall in Fall River, MA on Mar. 23, 2017.

John Tlumacki | Boston Globe | Getty Images

Amazon is hiring an additional 75,000 workers at its facilities, on top of the 100,000 new positions it created last month, the company said Monday.

In March, the company said it would hire additional warehouse and delivery workers across the country amid a surge in online shopping during the coronavirus outbreak. Since then, Amazon said it has hired more than 100,000 new employees and, as a result, is staffing up even more to help fulfill orders.

“We continue to see increased demand as our teams support their communities, and are going to continue to hire, creating an additional 75,000 jobs to help serve customers during this unprecedented time,” the company said. 

As it continues to hire more workers, Amazon has also raised employees’ hourly pay and doubled overtime pay for warehouse workers. Through the end of April, warehouse and delivery workers can earn an additional $2 per hour in the U.S., £2 per hour in the UK, and approximately €2 per hour in many EU countries. Amazon currently pays $15 per hour or more in some areas of the U.S. for warehouse and delivery jobs.

Amazon has announced several benefits changes on top of the pay increases. The company has allowed workers to take unlimited unpaid time off and provides two weeks of paid leave for workers who tested positive for the virus or are in quarantine.

Amazon said it expects to continue investing in pay increases, benefits and safety improvements for warehouse and delivery workers. The company previously expected to spend $350 million on pay increases, but now estimates it will spend more than $500 million on those efforts.

Despite the pay increases and benefits changes, Amazon workers from at least three facilities have staged protests to call for the company to better protect workers amid the coronavirus outbreak. A dozen workers told CNBC they felt Amazon needed to provide employees with paid time off, among other concerns.

The company has faced increased demand from customers on multiple fronts amid the coronavirus outbreak.

With shoppers stocking up online, services like Prime Now and the Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service reported limited availability for several days or told shoppers they were unable to make deliveries. On Sunday, Amazon said it would require new grocery delivery customers to join a wait-list and shorten some Whole Foods stores’ hours for the public so that employees can more quickly fulfill online orders. 

Meanwhile, Amazon has struggled to keep products in stock on its online marketplace. Last month, Amazon said it would begin prioritizing household staples and medical supplies at its fulfillment centers. 

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