Amazon will be raising the overtime pay rates for its warehouse workers, according to a Saturday announcement from e-commerce giant. Amazon’s facilities are one of the few businesses that have remained open in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, since the demand for online shopping has skyrocketed as people attempt social distancing.

From March 15-May 9, warehouse employees in the U.S. will receive double the pay for hours worked over 40 per week, an increase from the standard 1.5-times pay. The e-commerce giant also recently raised its base pay for these workers, up to $17-an-hour from $15, in an effort to reward current employees and entice new ones.

The company is currently looking to add 100,000 new warehouse workers amidst the steep increase in demand for its services. It has also encouraged workers recently laid off from other positions to apply for work at Amazon facilities.

“My own time and thinking is now wholly focused on COVID-19 and on how Amazon can best play its role,” CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement.

Bezos also said that the company has ordered “millions” of face masks for its warehouse workers to utilize down the line. They have also changed several policies in order to slow the spread of coronavirus between employees, such as forcing people to sit apart during lunch breaks and implementing staggered shifts.

Despite these measures, the company has faced backlash for not doing enough. Many prominent voices, including Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, have called for Amazon employees to receive hazard pay during this pandemic. Others have criticized Amazon for not offering paid sick leave.

Amazon temporarily closed its warehouse in Queens, New York, after a worker tested positive for Covid-19. In Europe, five Amazon workers have tested positive for the virus.

Amazon has the potential to emerge from the crisis as a hero after being hammered in recent months for its dominance of online retail and cloud computing Amazon has the potential to emerge from the crisis as a hero after being hammered in recent months for its dominance of online retail and cloud computing Photo: AFP / Thomas SAMSON