By Maria Armental 

Amazon.com Inc. will pay front-line staff a special holiday bonus as the e-commerce giant responds to a surge in online sales during the coronavirus pandemic that is driving record results.

Full-time employees at Amazon from Dec. 1 through Dec. 31 qualify for a bonus of $300, while part-time employees will receive $150, said Dave Clark, senior vice president of world-wide operations, in a blog post. The special bonus will total more than $500 million, he said.

The company offered a similar bonus in June following strong demand from consumers stuck at home during coronavirus lockdowns.

Early in the pandemic, Amazon faced criticism from employees about its response to the virus. Employees at several facilities staged walkouts in the spring demanding that Amazon shut down facilities with positive cases.

The company has taken actions to address worker safety, including requiring physical distancing and giving employees personal protective gear. In all, Amazon said, it had spent more than $7.5 billion in pandemic-related costs through Sept. 30.

The tech giant in October said more than 19,000 employees had tested positive for the coronavirus, which it said was a lower number than it expected based on the infection rate of the general population, and said it continued to ramp up its in-house Covid-19 testing program with capacity reaching 50,000 tests a day across 650 sites by November.

Other retailers have provided extra pay to their front-line workers. Walmart Inc. this year has given $1.1 billion in bonuses to its associates. Target Corp. raised its starting wages for hourly workers to $15, permanently extending a temporary increase implemented during the pandemic, and gave its workers a bonus in July.

Amazon, which raised its U.S. minimum pay to $15 an hour in 2018, reported a profit of $14.11 billion on $260.51 billion in net sales for the first nine months of this year and projected $112 billion to $121 billion in sales this quarter. In 2019, Amazon reported a $11.59 billion profit on $280.52 billion in sales.

Write to Maria Armental at maria.armental@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 27, 2020 11:48 ET (16:48 GMT)

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