Amazon giving $500 million in one-time bonuses to front-line workers as a ‘thank you’

Amazon is giving out more than $500 million as a “Thank You bonus” to front-line workers who were with the company throughout the month of June, a move that comes after the e-commerce giant eliminated a $2 hourly wage bump and double overtime pay for frontline workers at the end of May.

“Our front-line operations teams have been on an incredible journey over the last few months, and we want to show our appreciation with a special one-time Thank You bonus totaling over $500 million,” said Amazon senior vice president of worldwide operations Dave Clark in a note about the bonuses.

The one-time bonus amounts vary. Full-time employees of Amazon, Amazon-owned Whole Foods, or drivers for delivery service partners will get $500; part-time employees or drivers will get $250; front-line leaders at Amazon and Whole Foods will get $1,000; and delivery service partner owners, who help get packages to customers, will get $3,000. Drivers for Amazon Flex who worked more than 10 hours in June will get $150.

Amazon has seen soaring demand during the pandemic as people stay home and look to its products and services as a lifeline for household essentials. But it has also become the subject of increased scrutiny concerning the workplace conditions of its warehouses, which include 110 fulfillment centers across North America with 400,000 employees. The company has also been criticized for not providing enough information about the true impact of the public heath crisis on its workers. There have been at least 10 deaths among its warehouse employees who have tested positive for coronavirus.

Earlier this month, New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office interviewed workers from several Amazon facilities in New York City as part of an investigation into worker concerns over coronavirus-related safety measures.

The company is also facing a lawsuit over an alleged lack of coronavirus protections at its Staten Island facility.

In response to the suit, Amazon said it has taken a variety of steps to prevent the spread of the virus, including making more than 150 “process changes” to its operations to enhance safety. When reporting its first quarter earnings, Amazon said it spent more than $600 million on coronavirus-related costs during the first three months of the year, and said it expected these costs could grow to at least $4 billion in the second quarter.

CNN’s Brian Fung contributed reporting