Amazon will hire 100,000 employees in the US to cope with the surge of Americans turning to online deliveries amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Employees will also earn $2 more per hour through April, along with an additional £2 for UK workers and €2 an hour for workers in many EU countries. The current starting wage is $15 per hour in its fulfillment centers around the US.
"We are seeing a significant increase in demand, which means our labor needs are unprecedented for this time of year," said semior VP of operations, Dave Clark, in a memo reviewed by the Journal.
With the coronavirus spreading throughout the U.S. and states implementing restrictions on large gatherings, more customers are turning to online shopping for everything from grocery delivery to paper towels, cleaning supplies and daily needs. Amazon, which also owns grocery store chain Whole Foods, was one of the companies President Trump mentioned during his update on the coronavirus on Sunday. Amazon accounts for 39% of all online orders in the U.S., according to eMarketer, and is shouldering a lot of those needs. -Wall Street Journal
Amazon also expanded its sick-leave policy last Wednesday to include part-time warehouse workers. They company has also set up a relief fund with an initial $25 million for drivers and other delivery partners affected by the outbreak.
According to the report, the 100,000 new jobs come at a time when retail is collapsing and retailers are considering widespread closure of physical stores. Nike, Apple and Lululemon have all announced temporary store closures, while people working in the entertainment, restaurant and hospitality industries are facing furloughs as cities and states restrict gatherings in public places.