Amazon will retain roughly 70% of the U.S. workforce that it has hired temporarily amidst a demand surge caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the firm told Reuters today. The hired personnel, which amounts to 175,000, includes warehouse workers, delivery drivers amongst other staff.
The Seattle firm will start informing 125,000 workers next month that they will be offered permanent positions, and the remaining 50,000 employees that the firm has brought on will stay on until their contracts expire, which usually last up to 11 months.
The decision to retain staff comes amidst a spike in the firm’s sales, even as government-imposed lockdowns ease and competitors resume operations for pickup services. When Amazon began the hiring spree in March, it promised employment “until things return to normal.” The firm did not reveal how much it was spending to make the positions permanent, and whether this would be in excess to the $4 billion that it expects to spend to protect workers from the coronavirus pandemic and ensure deliveries are made to customers. Permanent positions offer health insurance and retirement plans, which aren’t made available to seasonal workers.
At the end of Q1 2020, Amazon stated that it had 840,400 full and part-time employees, and hasn’t reported an updated number since.