Amazon’s actions to help customers, communities, and employees affected by COVID-19
As a global company, we’re closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19. In addition to those who are affected by the illness, many more are indirectly dealing with changes in their work, school, and community environments. Read a message from our CEO and founder.
Serving our customers
We believe our role serving customers and the community during this time is a critical one. As COVID-19 has spread, we've seen an increase in people shopping online. To serve our customers while also helping to ensure the safety of our associates, we’ve changed our logistics, transportation, supply chain, purchasing, and third-party seller processes to prioritize stocking and delivering items that are a higher priority for our customers. This has resulted in some of our delivery promises being longer than usual. We are also hiring over 100,000 positions across the U.S. to enable us to provide this vital service to people everywhere, especially to those, like the elderly, who are most vulnerable.
While Amazon will continue taking orders and shipping items from across our store, customers ordering items they don’t need immediately have the opportunity to help others by selecting shipping options that enable us to consolidate orders and make fewer stops in neighborhoods throughout the week, and most importantly, serve customers with the most critical needs first.
Our customers are counting on us like never before. At every level of our company, we’re working to provide the products and services that our customers and communities need as we face a global pandemic. This includes taking a number of important steps to keep prices fair and protect our customers from those looking to exploit the current crisis. Amazon has zero tolerance for price gouging and longstanding policies and systems to prevent this harmful practice. We’re working vigorously to combat price gouging.
To protect customers shopping in our physical retail stores, we've enhanced our daily cleaning procedures and are implementing additional nightly cleaning. We continue to educate employees on CDC guidance for maintaining healthy habits, and are offering flexibility for employees who need to stay home, plus paid time off for those who are diagnosed with the virus.
Empowering our customers
In addition to serving our retail customers, we’re making sure Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers have the tools and support they need to keep their businesses and organizations moving forward safely and efficiently.
We are working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) to accelerate the effort to track the virus, understand its outbreak, and to better contain its spread. AWS is supplying WHO with advanced cloud technologies and supporting them with technical expertise. This ranges from building vast "data lakes" aggregating epidemiological country data, to rapidly translating medical training videos into different languages and helping global healthcare workers to better treat patients.
At AWS, one area where we have heard an urgent need is in the research and development of diagnostics, which consist of rapid, accurate detection and testing of COVID-19. Better diagnostics will help accelerate treatment and containment, and in time, shorten the course of this epidemic.
That’s why we are launching the AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative—a global program to support customers in the US, Europe, and the rest of the world, who are working to bring better, more accurate, diagnostics solutions to market faster, and promote better collaboration across organizations that are working on similar problems. As part of this, we are committing an initial investment of $20 million to accelerate diagnostic research, innovation, and development to speed our collective understanding and detection of COVID-19 and other innovate diagnostic solutions to mitigate future infectious disease outbreaks. Read more.
AWS is collaborating with public health organizations, government agencies, and businesses around the globe to support their efforts resulting from the ripple effect of COVID-19. This includes providing customers in the most affected regions with technical support and AWS credits that help cover costs, while enabling organizations to quickly stand up and scale their tools and infrastructure to keep businesses running, and speed COVID-19 research projects.
We are supporting Amazonians and others who are working from home with AWS services, including virtual desktops in the cloud, frustration-free online meetings with video, and secure content storage and collaboration. AWS also provides services for many healthcare and life sciences companies that are working on research, diagnosis, treatment, and vaccine study to accelerate our collective understanding of COVID-19.
Caring for our employees
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Amazon and our network of partners are helping communities around the world in a way that very few can — delivering critical supplies directly to the doorsteps of people who need them. We want to recognize our employees who are playing an essential role for people at a time when many of the services that might normally be there to support them are closed.
We are opening 100,000 new full and part-time positions across the U.S. in our fulfillment centers and delivery network to meet the surge in demand from people relying on Amazon’s service during this stressful time, particularly those most vulnerable to being out in public. We also know many people have been economically impacted as jobs in areas like hospitality, restaurants, and travel are lost or furloughed as part of this crisis. We want those people to know we welcome them on our teams until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back. In addition to the 100,000 new roles we’re creating, we want to recognize our employees who are playing an essential role for people at a time when many of the services that might normally be there to support them are closed. In the U.S., we will be adding an additional $2 USD per hour worked through April from our current rate of $15/hour or more, depending on the region, C$2 in Canada, £2 per hour in the UK, and approximately €2 per hour in many EU countries. This commitment to increased pay through the end of April represents an investment of over $350 million in increased compensation for hourly employees across the U.S., Europe, and Canada.
In light of ongoing international COVID-19 developments, we recommend that all global employees who work in a role that can be done from home, do so until April 24. Every team is different and not all jobs are conducive to working from home. Employees and partners whose work requires their physical presence in their workplace, have access to all of their usual paid and unpaid time-off benefits.
All Amazon employees diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine will receive up to two weeks of pay. This additional pay while away from work is to ensure employees have time to return to good health without the worry of lost income. This is in addition to unlimited unpaid time off for all hourly employees through the end of March.
We are establishing the Amazon Relief Fund, with a $25 million initial contribution, focused on supporting our independent delivery service partners and their drivers, Amazon Flex participants, and seasonal employees under financial distress during this challenging time. We will be offering all of these groups the ability to apply for grants approximately equal to up to two weeks of pay if diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine. Going forward, this fund will support our employees and contractors around the world who face financial hardships from other qualifying events, such as a natural disaster, a federally declared emergency, or an unforeseen personal hardship. Applicants may apply and receive a personal grant from the fund ranging from €400 to €5,000 per person.
We paused our fulfillment center public tours program, cancelled large events, and changed the majority of our job interviews to virtual interviews rather than in-person interviews, which often require travel. At the same time, we increased our cleaning of all facilities globally, including regular sanitization of all door handles, stairway handrails, elevator buttons, lockers, and touch screens.
Supporting our Community
In Europe, Amazon has committed €21 million to support those who are the most affected by the COVID-19 crisis. This includes donations totaling €12.5 million to local Red Cross organizations in the UK, Germany, France and Spain, and the Civil Protection Department in Italy. In addition to this, each country has also allocated €1 million to donate to local non-profit organizations in the communities where Amazon employees live and work. Amazon is also donating €3.5 million to non-profit organizations in Poland, Turkey, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Austria, including the Red Cross.
These donations are in addition to existing work Amazon and its employees have been doing across Europe. For example, in Spain, Amazon has launched a series of free webinars on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) topics and creative coding for primary and secondary teachers in collaboration with FormaRobotik. In Italy, Amazon donated thousands of protective items, such as suits, gloves and masks to the Civil Protection Department for hospitals operating in the most affected areas in Lombardy, as well as Prime Now two-hour deliveries in some cities without additional costs. And in the UK, Amazon has announced a partnership with the government to help deliver test kits to frontline employees.
In addition, we are continuing to pay all hourly staff who work for the service providers that support our offices here and around the world—from food-service workers to security guards to janitorial staff.
At our global headquarters in Seattle, we created a $5 million Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund to provide cash grants to Seattle-area small businesses that need assistance to get through economic challenges related to COVID-19. The fund is intended for businesses with fewer than 50 employees or less than $7 million in annual revenue. Additionally, we are subsidizing two full months of rent for tenants in the buildings Amazon owns.
We’ve also reached out to, and are helping, our communities around the globe. In China, for example, we leveraged our fulfillment network to donate millions of items—such as medical isolation suits, protective masks, disposable gloves, and other medical supplies—to healthcare professionals in affected cities. We'll share more updates in days to come.