Coronavirus: Amazon to increase staff pay in the UK, US, and Europe

Yahoo Finance UK
Amazon has also announced it will hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the US to handle the coronavirus related surge in sales. (Ine Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images)
Amazon has also announced it will hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the US to handle the coronavirus related surge in sales. (Ine Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images)

Amazon (AMZN) has said it will increase pay for its staff in the UK, US and Europe in response to a surge in demand during the coronavirus outbreak.

The online retailer said it would temporarily raise wages by £2 an hour in the UK, $2 in the US, and €2 in Europe until the end of April for hourly employees.

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The company said it expects the pay rises to cost it more than £285m ($350m).

Amazon has also announced it will hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the US to handle the coronavirus related jump in sales.

Read more: Thousands of jobs at risk as Travelex-owner on brink of collapse

The company's delivery systems have come under strain as customers avoid bricks-and-mortar shops and turn to online ordering instead. Amazon also said it had sold out of many household cleaning supplies and was working to get more in stock.

“We are seeing a significant increase in demand, which means our labour needs are unprecedented for this time of year,” said Dave Clark, who oversees Amazon’s warehouse and delivery network.

The company did not say whether it would also be taking on new workers in the UK.

The move comes as UK prime minister Boris Johnson urged people to avoid unnecessary social contact and to work from home where possible. The coronavirus outbreak, which has caused over 7,000 deaths globally, has led to lockdowns around the world.

Last week, Amazon changed its time-off policy for hourly workers, allowing them they could take as much time off as they needed in March, although they would only be paid if they had earned time off.

The company also said it would pay hourly workers for up to two weeks if they contracted coronavirus or needed to be quarantined, and created a $25m fund to support its independent delivery service partners and drivers.

Read more: Carphone Warehouse to slash 2,900 jobs

Amazon is already the second-largest US-based employer behind Walmart (WMT), with nearly 800,000 employees across the world.

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