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Amazon plans to extend hazard pay for warehouse workers through the end of May, but it will return to normal pay rates in June, the company confirmed on Thursday.
The retail giant founded and led by CEO Jeff Bezos has been facing increasing pressure from lawmakers, state attorneys general and its own employees over how it has treated essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ve extended the increased hourly pay through May 30. We are also extending double overtime pay in the U.S. and Canada. These extensions increase our total investment in pay during COVID-19 to nearly $800 million for our hourly employees and partners,” Timothy Carter, an Amazon spokesperson, told Fox News.
“In addition, we are providing flexibility with leave of absence options, including expanding the policy to cover COVID-19 circumstances, such as high-risk individuals or school closures. We continue to see heavy demand during this difficult time and the team is doing incredible work for our customers and the community,” Carter explained.
A source familiar with Amazon’s response to COVID-19 confirmed a range of steps the company has taken to safeguard its employees, spending an addition $800 million on tens of millions of masks, hand sanitizers, gloves and disinfecting wipes, as well as thousands of thermometers, extra handwashing stations and more janitorial staffers.
Last week, Bezos announced that Amazon would spend at least $4 billion of its expected second-quarter profit “on COVID-related expenses getting products to customers and keeping employees safe,” including investments in personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning, more effective social distancing practices and higher wages.
Amazon’s decision to end the pay increase at the end of May did not sit well with at least one lawmaker.
Fox News reporter Chris Ciaccia contributed to this story.