To keep up with a "significant increase in demand" due to the coronavirus outbreak, Amazon is hiring an additional 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the US. As more people turn to online shopping in an attempt to stay home (and because grocery stores are struggling to keep shelves stocked), Amazon says its labor needs are unprecedented for this time of year.
The company will increase pay for US workers by $2 per hour through the end of April. Those in the UK will see a £2 per hour increase, and Amazon will boost pay by approximately €2 per hour in many EU countries. The company says the pay bump represents an investment of over $350 million across the US, Europe and Canada.
Amazon is looking to fill both full- and part-time positions, and it says it's happy to take anyone who has lost their job in the hospitality, food service and travel industries as a part of this crisis. "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," Amazon wrote.
As far as keeping its employees safe, Amazon says it has "taken measures to promote social distancing in the workplace" and ramped up cleaning. But it's hard to say how much good that will do. Amazon doesn't have the best track record for keeping its employees safe, and according to MIT, the virus can live on a cardboard delivery box for at least a day.
Amazon is encouraging employees who can work from home to do so, and all employees diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine will receive up to two weeks of pay. Additional financial support may be available through the Amazon Relief Fund, which received an initial $25 million investment.