Amazon made headlines this week when it announced that it was raising its minimum wage to $15. The company also gave long-time workers a $1 raise. But some employees say that doesn’t cover the cuts in other benefits.
The new pay and benefits plan goes into effect next month. At that time, employees will lose monthly bonuses and the chance to earn Amazon stock. Amazon stock prices are nearly $2,000 each. The company previously gave employees two shares after their first year working for the company, and one share every year after that.
Amazon said the increased wage will compensate employees for the lost bonuses. It also says that employees will have the option to buy Amazon stock next year. The company did not give any details as to how much the shares would cost employees.
Amazon did say that the change will benefit approximately 350,000 employees. That includes employees of its subsidiary, Whole Foods Market. The parent company operates 100 warehouses nationwide.
How the Change Affects Longtime Employees
Four veteran workers spoke anonymously for fear of losing their jobs.
One employee from a Pennsylvania warehouse said the change means she’ll lose about $3,000 per year. During the normal season, she earns about $150 per month in bonuses. During the holiday season, she earns $400 per month in bonuses as Amazon raises its bonuses to encourage workers to be punctual and work more quickly.
Now, the $1 per hour raise will only give her $160 extra per month. Plus, she lost out on the Amazon share she would have earned.
An employee from Maryland asked, “Who that’s making $16.25 an hour is going to have $2,000 to buy a stock?”
Frustration over Vague Answers
When employees asked their managers certain questions about the new compensation package, the managers weren’t able to answer. When they called the employee hotline, a recorded message told them that the company “does not have any additional information we can share with you at this time.”
Effect on Employee Turnover
Another longtime employee said that with the changes Amazon is making, his position has become “like any other warehouse” job. “I’m updating my resume.”
Experts say that Amazon may see a rise in employee turnover if it doesn’t communicate better with its veterans.