Global retail giant Amazon regularly offers US employees up to $5,000 to stop working for them, according to a recent article in Atlantic Monthly.
The piece reported on ‘The Offer’, a yearly opportunity for workers in Amazon’s North American warehouses and customer service centres to resign and claim a substantial financial payment in return.
A spokesperson told the magazine that Amazon wanted to encourage unhappy employees to leave.
“We believe staying somewhere you don’t want to be isn’t healthy for our employees or for the company,” said Ashley Robinson.
Full and part-time employees are offered between $2,000 and $5,000 depending on length of employment. In return for the payment they must agree not to seek work at Amazon in the future.
The magazine article suggested that The Offer resulted in those employees who chose to stay with the company working harder because they had made a conscious commitment to their jobs, and as such the policy made sound psychological sense. Employees are also unlikely to hand in their notice at any other time of the year when they would not receive the payment.
The article also revealed that The Offer is not as generous as it initially seems, as it is subject to tax and those accepting it will lose out on in-work benefits that could be worth more than the severance payment. These include membership in Amazon’s employee healthcare programme as well as company shares.
A long-term employee who leaves will also be paid a higher hourly rate than the new employee hired to replace them, meaning that Amazon will not significantly lose out in financial terms.
Supply chain jobs in Amazon fulfilment centres are known to be physically and mentally demanding, as the company constantly strives for greater efficiency. Nevertheless, Amazon claims that only a small percentage of employees accept The Offer each year.
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