Amazon won’t be paying most warehouse workers in the US to quit their jobs this year. According to The Information, the e-commerce giant has paused its “pay-to-quit” program for majority of its workers for 2022, and it’s unclear if it will be reinstated. The publication has obtained a copy of Amazon’s message to its employees, which was then verified by a spokesperson from the company. Typically, Amazon pays its warehouse workers up to $5,000 to quit their jobs after peak seasons like the holidays as a way to pare down its workforce in the slowdown that follows.
Jeff Bezos also once told shareholders in a newsletter that it’s a way to give employees an out if they’re no longer happy working for Amazon. The company would usually make “The Offer,” as it’s also called, towards the end of the first quarter of the year. For 2022, however, it told employees that only workers who graduated from Amazon’s Career Choice training program will be eligible for the payout. They’re also only eligible within 90 days after graduating. Amazon pays tuition reimbursements for workers part of the Career Choice program, which expands this January to include GEDs, English as a Second Language (ESL) certificates and bachelor’s degrees. It only used to cover certificates for technical skills and associate degrees.
Karen Riley Sawyer, the company’s representative, has confirmed the changes to the pay-to-quit program, telling The Information that it’s currently only available “to graduates of Career Choice to support their transition to a new career should they choose to leverage their new certifications.” While Sawyer didn’t say why the program’s scope has been narrowed down, it could be because vaccine mandates and the rising infection rates caused by the spread of the Omicron variant are making it hard for Amazon to find adequate staffing. Earlier this month, Motherboard reported that over 1,800 workers at a single Amazon facility in New York were out on leave due to COVID. A source also told The Information that the warehouse had been facing severe staffing shortages over the past months.