Amazon Pays Workers $5K to Quit
Strategy is to keep only employees who truly want to stay
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2014 5:13 PM CDT
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

(Newser) – Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos sent out his annual letter to shareholders this week, and Business Insider takes note of one part in particular about the company's "Pay to Quit" program. Amazon offers some employees up to $5,000 to leave, and Bezos explains that the principle is "pretty simple":

  • "Once a year, we offer to pay our associates to quit. The first year the offer is made, it’s for $2,000. Then it goes up one thousand dollars a year until it reaches $5,000. The headline on the offer is 'Please Don’t Take This Offer.' We hope they don’t take the offer; we want them to stay. Why do we make this offer? The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want. In the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company."

The Tennessean fills in some gaps: The offer is good only for employees in the company's "fulfillment centers"—the warehouses where all those online orders get packed and shipped. A spokeswoman tells the paper that only a "small percentage of employees take the offer." The Huffington Post, meanwhile, notes that many of those warehouse workers are part-timers, and it's unclear whether they would qualify for the deal. Still, it's an interesting idea, writes Max Nisen at Quartz, and it shows how Bezos isn't afraid to experiment to improve his workforce.

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Showing 3 of 24 comments
Apr 11, 2014 7:04 PM CDT
Pure Hype. Most of the workers are employed by staffing agencies anyway.. I worked at one of those monster warehouses and purchased the 'paper'' Christmas gift certificates from 19 employees for 20 bucks each. I got burned big time, not only did Amazon not honor the purchased 'gift certificates', they wouldn't even honer the one given directly to me. Bezo's can jump off a cliff for all I care, it was a horrible place to work. Management stayed behind bullet proof doors and glass if that tells you anything.. Where's my 2G's Bezo's??
Apr 11, 2014 12:03 PM CDT
Gotta hand it to Amazon, pretty clever move to avoid high unemployment payouts. Plus it gives the warehouse worker a shot at 5G's right away, so that maybe he can move on with his life and find better work else where. I once worked for a company that had employee stock profit sharing, of which I paid nothing into. Some new Mgmt. took over and began laying off almost everyone, replacing with their own people. I knew I was next to go, and knew if I did get laid off, I'd forfeit my share of the stock option. Or just get a paltry few hundred, I forget. But if I quit, I'd get about $2 grand for my five yrs time. I took the 2 G's.
Arthur Machado
Apr 11, 2014 5:20 AM CDT
What a phony. He is doing this to avoid increases in his unemployment taxes that go up every time an employee is fired and claims unemployment benefits. The money even a front line worker would get off unemployment would exceed $5,000 in 10 or 15 weeks. And they say conservatives suppress their workers, maybe they do, but at least they don't lie about it and try to look like nice guys when they are really pigs. And what amazes me as the press reports this as an altruistic act without even thinking about the real reasons he is doing this.