Business Technology

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Unhappy Amazon staff offered up to $5,000 to quit

Katherine Rushton

Published 15/04/2014 | 20:49

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Amazon is bribing unhappy staff to quit.
Amazon is bribing unhappy staff to quit.

Lots of companies pay their staff bonuses to boost morale, but Amazon has found a less orthodox method: The Seattle technology giant is bribing unhappy staff to quit.

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In a letter headed “Please don’t take this offer”, the company has taken the unusual step of offering people who have worked in its warehouse for less than a year $2,000 to walk out the door.

That figure rises $1,000 for every year worked, up to a maximum of $5000.

The move comes at a time when Amazon is steadily hiring staff for its packing centres across America, adding an additional 2,500 jobs last quarter. However, the company hopes the so-called “Pay to Quit” initiative will weed out those workers who are bringing down morale.

"The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want,” said Jeff Bezos, chief executive. “In the long run, an employee staying somewhere they don't want to be isn't healthy for the employee or the company.”

The counter-intuitive scheme follows criticism of Amazon’s factory conditions. According to reports, workers have to walk up to 11 miles per shift, and are forced to work overtime. They allegedly also have their toilet breaks timed, and are sacked if they take sick leave more than three times a quarter.

Last year, Mr Bezos came under pressure to improve conditions after a UK petition calling for better standards attracted more than 40,000 signatures in two days.

Although its tactic of bribing staff to go is unusual, Amazon is not the first company to use this method.

In California, Netflix, the internet streaming company, uses a similar offer to get rid of mediocre office staff. The company has a longstanding policy of handing mediocre office staff a generous severance package, in order to free up positions for executives who might perform better.

Telegraph.co.uk

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