Our top concern is ensuring the health and safety of our employees, and we expect to invest approximately $4 billion from April to June on COVID-related initiatives to get products to customers and keep employees safe. This includes spending more than $800 million in the first half of the year on COVID-19 safety measures, with investments in personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning of our facilities, less efficient process paths that better allow for effective social distancing, higher wages for hourly teams, and developing our own COVID-19 testing capabilities, etc. Some of the precise numbers so far are:
- Provided 100 million+ masks to sites
- Added 2,298 handwashing stations
- Added 5,765+ janitorial staffers to our typical teams
- Provided an additional 34 million gloves
- Added 48 million ounces of hand sanitizer
- Added 93 million sanitizing spray and wipes
- Procured more than 31,000 thermometers and 1,115+ thermal cameras
We're also spending over $85 million redeploying team members from their typical roles to perform safety related tasks and audits at sites around the world. This includes team members who are "social distancing ambassadors" helping with temperature checks.
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We are conducting temperature checks across our U.S. and European operations network and Whole Foods Market stores, testing hundreds of thousands of employees daily. If people have a fever, we’ll ask them to go home and return to work when they are without fever for at least three days.
Millions of masks have been distributed across our network. They are available to all Amazon associates, delivery service partners, Amazon Flex participants, seasonal employees, and Whole Foods Market stores employees. We are requiring everyone to take and use them.
An important safety step might be regular testing of all employees for COVID-19, including those without symptoms. We have begun assembling equipment we need to build our first lab to process tests and hope to start testing small numbers of our frontline employees soon.
We have increased the frequency and intensity of cleaning at all sites, including regular sanitization of door handles, handrails, touch screens, scanners, and other frequently touched areas.
Our enhanced cleaning has added almost 200 additional points of contact per site across our janitorial teams, and we’ve increased the size of our cleaning teams threefold to support our buildings.
We are implementing disinfectant spraying across our network, a practice commonly used by hospitals and airlines, to supplement the enhanced cleaning measures already in place.
We've sourced millions of additional units of items like disinfectant wipes, gloves, and hand sanitizer for our teams and reconfigured buildings to include additional hand-washing and sanitary equipment stations.
We require everyone to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom and before eating, as well as after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer stations are easily accessible throughout our buildings.
In addition to break times, employees can log out of their system to wash their hands whenever they choose, without worrying about impact on their performance goals.
We've adjusted our practices so fulfillment center employees can practice social distancing in the following ways:
- We've eliminated stand-up meetings during shifts in favor of new communication methods like signboards and text messages.
- We've adjusted break room tables and microwaves so employees can eat and relax with new parameters in mind.
- We've taken steps to reduce congestion by adjusting the way teams clock in and out, stopping post-shift security screenings, and staggering shift start times and break times.
- We've shifted trainings so we don’t have employees gathering in one spot.
- We've adjusted our hiring process to encourage social distancing and moved many activities online.
We're conducting daily audits of the new health and safety measures we've put into place to make sure people are educated and complying with this new normal. We also assigned some of our top machine-learning technologists to capture opportunities in real time about how we can continue to improve social distancing in our buildings using technology.
To support employees, we are increasing compensation for select jobs. In the U.S., we’ve added $2 USD per hour worked through April to our current minimum wage of $15 per hour or more. The increase is C$2 in Canada, £2 per hour in the UK, and approximately €2 per hour in many EU countries. April 24 update: We’ve extended the increased hourly pay through May 16. We are also extending double overtime pay in the U.S. and Canada.
We also believe in taking care of people who need time away. Someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or who is presumptively positive (but unable to get a test) will receive up to two weeks of paid time off—this is in addition to their other paid and unpaid time off options. We're asking anyone who was in close contact with the diagnosed individual while at our site to stay home, with pay, for 14 days in self-quarantine to protect themselves and those around them. If any team members are unable or unwilling to work a scheduled shift, they can use paid or unpaid time off options, and we are supportive if someone chooses to stay home.
We have established the Amazon Relief Fund with a $25 million initial contribution to support independent delivery service partners and their drivers, Amazon Flex participants, and seasonal employees under financial distress during this challenging time. We are 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.
To ensure that our teams are staffed to meet the challenge and responsibility of being a lifeline for Amazon customers, we have hired 100,000 people in the last four weeks and opened up 75,000 additional full- and part-time positions across the U.S.
We know many people have been hurt by layoffs in the hospitality, restaurant, and travel industries, and we want those people to know we welcome them on our teams with a variety of flexible opportunities until they can return to their previous position. Apply at amazon.com/jobsnow. Full-time Amazon employees receive comprehensive medical benefits from day one – their first day on the job. It’s part of a full range of benefits including prescription drug, dental, and vision plans that are offered to Amazonians and eligible family members including domestic partners and their children.
We will keep evaluating how to best support our teams and will continue rolling out measures to protect the health and safety of every person helping customers get what they need during this difficult time. Taking care of our retail heroes as they step up for their communities will remain Amazon's number-one priority.