Amazon on Monday announced a one-time “Thank You” payment for all of its frontline workers that have helped the e-commerce giant weather the coronavirus outbreak. Payments of $500 for full-time workers and $250 for part-time workers will be made to employees at Amazon’s warehouses, delivery drivers, and Whole Foods.

“My thanks and gratitude for the truly remarkable commitment to customers you have shown throughout this journey,” senior vice president of retail operations Dave Clark said in the memo announcing the bonuses to employees. “I have never been more proud of our teams.”

In addition to these payments, Flex delivery drivers will receive a $150 bonus if they worked more than 10 hours in June. Owners of third-party delivery services that partners will receive a $3,000 bonus, while Whole Foods managers will receive $1,000.

Amazon previously increased pay for all of its employees by $2 an hour from March to June. During the time, it also offered warehouse staff double hourly overtime pay. This move upset many workers, who criticized the ending of hazard pay despite the persistence of the outbreak. Amazon countered by claiming these bonuses were due to increased online orders during lockdown periods, which it said has leveled off.

Despite the company’s claims that it has gone out of its way to make its warehouses safe and clean during the pandemic, workers worldwide have consistently called out the company's handling of the situation. Recently, workers at Amazon facilities in Berlin went on strike after several employees tested positive for COVID-19.

Amazon is expected to pay out a total of $500 million in bonuses.

Amazon says it employs around 13,000 full-time workers at its 13 German logistics centres, with thousands more seasonal workers Amazon says it employs around 13,000 full-time workers at its 13 German logistics centres, with thousands more seasonal workers Photo: AFP / Emmanuel DUNAND