Amazon Offers Permanent Jobs To Workers Hired During Pandemic

Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) said it will offer permanent jobs to 70% of the U.S. workforce it hired temporarily to meet consumer demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

The online retailer will begin telling 125,000 warehouse employees in June that they can keep their roles longer-term. The remaining 50,000 workers it has brought on will stay on seasonal contracts that last up to 11 months.

The decision is a sign that Amazon’s sales have increased enough to justify an expanded workforce for order fulfillment, even as government lockdowns ease and rivals open their retail stores.

Amazon started the hiring spree in March as the global pandemic lockdown forced consumers to shop online. Seattle-based Amazon did not disclose how much it was spending to make the positions permanent and whether that cost would be in addition to the $4 billion it has forecast for virus-related expenses.

The permanent roles come with benefits that seasonal workers do not typically receive, such as employer-offered health insurance and retirement plans. Amazon said it had 840,400 full and part-time staff at the end of last quarter. The company has increased cleaning, added social distancing measures and offered face masks, fever checks and virus tests at its facilities around the world.