Amazon to Hire 100,000 Distribution and Delivery Workers Due to Coronavirus

A woman moves Amazon merchandise in one of the fulfillment centers.
An Amazon employee moves merchandise in the Amazon fulfillment center on Staten Island borough of New York. Mary Altaffer / AP Photo

Amazon is making a major hiring push in response to an influx of online shoppers due to the spread of COVID-19, the new coronavirus.

The e-commerce giant plans to hire 100,000 part-time and full-time workers across the company’s distribution centers and delivery networks. Amazon also invested $350 million to temporarily increase the base pay of workers in the U.S., U.K. and Canada.

“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,” the company announced.

With the additional investment, Amazon’s company-wide minimum wage will shoot to $17 an hour through the end of April. New positions are available at Whole Foods stores, at Prime Now and distribution-center warehouses, in cargo centers for air shipping and through the Amazon Flex delivery app.

No resume or previous work experience is required, and applicants can start working in as soon as one week, according to Amazon’s new application portal.

Amazon strongly encourages people who recently lost work due to the economic effects of the coronavirus to apply.

“Many people have been economically impacted as jobs in areas like hospitality, restaurants, and travel are lost or furloughed as part of this crisis,” the company said. “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 Amazon’s jobs portal, applicants can select an array of immediately available positions across 34 states. Some remote positions are also listed.

Full-time workers are eligible for health, dental, vision and prescription-drug coverage; a 401(k) retirement plan; paid time off and overtime pay. In response to the coronavirus, Amazon and several other major employers announced changes to their paid sick leave policies.

Under Amazon’s new sick-leave policy, all workers – including gig workers – are eligible for up to 14 days of paid sick leave if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 or if they are told to quarantine due to the disease. The company also offered unlimited unpaid sick leave until the end of March.

Due to the disease and government recommendations to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, consumers have opted to shop online in droves, causing hiccups in Amazon’s delivery speeds and supply chain.

In response to stocking and delivery issues, Amazon announced it would prioritize “household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers,” essentially halting orders for nonessential items.

The mass hiring initiative is part of a larger strategy to solve those infrastructural issues.The announcement did not specify whether the new positions are temporary or permanent, and Amazon did not respond to The Penny Hoarder’s request for clarification in time for publication.

Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He covers the gig economy, entrepreneurship and unique ways to make money. Read his ​latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.