How Amazon Workers Can Net $5K For Quitting

Amazon offers its warehouse employees up to $5,000 to quit, though CEO Jeff Bezos hopes they won't take that deal.
Posted at 1:21 PM, Apr 12, 2014

If your boss offered you $5,000 to quit your job, would you take the offer? Well, some employees at Amazon now have that choice.

"The company's Pay to Quit program is designed to make sure their employees really want to be there. Amazon says it's currently only available to their warehouse employees." (Via News 12 Connecticut)

Okay, so there is that one caveat. And it's not a $5,000 offer right from the start. In a letter to shareholders, Amazon CEO Jeffrey Bezos explained how the program works.

"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."

But CBS reports Bezos doesn't really want anyone to take him up on the offer. He just offers the payout to "encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want." 

So, why would Bezos care? Perhaps, because of the steady stream of negative headlines about working conditions in Amazon's warehouses. The company's image has taken a beating on the issue. (Via Mother Jones, Gawker)

Though The Tennessean spoke with a company spokeswoman who said less than 10 percent of employees presented with the offer have decided to take the money and leave. 

But Amazon has also tried to offer incentives for employees to stay.

Since 2012, the company has paid 95 percent of tuition for employees who want to further their education, even if the skills learned aren't relevant to their career at Amazon. (Via WKYC)

Amazon says it's experimented with this Pay to Quit program before, but only rolled it out to all 40,000 warehouse employees this year. And it isn't the only company giving workers this option.

The Los Angeles Times notes both Zappos and Netflix offer similar programs. Although, Netflix only offers it to their corporate employees. 

Although, these companies might not want their employees to take them up on the offer, a Gallup study discovered disengaged employees cost companies lots of money in the long run. 

The study found 18 percent of American workers are actively disengaged when at work. This means they're acting out their unhappiness while at work and cost an estimated $450 billion to $500 billion in lost productivity every year. 

Amazon makes the Pay to Quit offer to its warehouse employees once every year.