Amazon plans to keep most of the U.S. jobs it added to meet the demand in March and April as an increasing number of people stayed at home and ordered online. The e-commerce giant said on Thursday that it is planning to offer permanent jobs to 70 per cent of the U.S. hires during the coronavirus pandemic.
Amazon has been one of the few companies that continued to hire during the pandemic as the United States accounted for record job losses over the past two months, with businesses and stores remaining closed owing to lockdown measures implemented by the local governments. Amazon had initially hired more than 150,000 employees for seasonal roles to meet surge in online demand.
Amazon to Help Thousands
Amazon said on Thursday that it will give 125,000 of the 175,000 temporary workers it hired in March and April the option to stay on full time. This is also an indication that Amazon expects the recent growth in online orders to continue in the long term. The remaining 50,000 workers will continue to stay on seasonal contracts that last up to 11 months.
Amazon said that the new additions will supplement its total U.S. count, which already is over 500,000. The transition from seasonal to full-time role will be beginning in June. The company also said that some may choose to return to their previous jobs as the economy has started reopening, while others may choose to stay at Amazon on seasonal or part-time basis.
Amazon, however, didn't specify how much it would be spending on converting these part-time positions to permanent and if the cost will in addition to the $4 billion it had earlier forecast as virus-related expenses. The permanent roles will also come with benefits that seasonal employees lack such as health insurance offered by employer and other retirement plans and benefits.
Amazon Swims Against the Tide
Amazon's decision to offer permanent roles to 125,000 works is a sign that its sales have increased substantially during the during the pandemic and it expects the surge in demand to continue although the federal government has started easing the lockdown and other retailers have started opening stores.
U.S. jobless claims crossed 40 million, according to latest data from U.S. Labor Department. With businesses and stores closed, companies started laying off staff over the past two months. Amazon and a few other retailers on the other hand have been swimming against the tide. Amazon started hiring in March as it witnessed a surge in online orders for grocery and essential goods.
Amazon went on a hiring spree with a blog post in March appealing to workers laid off by restaurants and other shuttered businesses, promising employment till the situation improved and the former employer is able to hire them back. However, some Amazon workers have also said that the company by keeping it warehouses operational during the pandemic put their health at risk.
Around 800 of its U.S.-based employees have so far tested positive for coronavirus. The company said that it has increased cleaning, implemented social distancing measures and is offering face masks and is doing fever checks and virus tests in response.