Amazon (AMZN) will start offering emergency childcare and adult care as a new benefit this summer for employees across its corporate offices, warehouses, and Whole Foods Market stores, Yahoo Finance has learned.
With many companies gearing up for the gradual relaxation of coronavirus lockdowns, Amazon — whose worker policies have been under extreme scrutiny during the outbreak — is helping employees offset the loss of schooling and care options.
From June 2 until October 2, the tech giant is expected to substantially subsidize up to 10 days, or 100 hours, of backup childcare and senior care for its more than 650,000 U.S. workers. That adds up to a total of 65 million hours across the company, Amazon said in an internal memo.
Amazon partnered with Care.com (IAC), a website that connects families with caregivers, and both full-time and part-time employees will be eligible for the benefit.
Through the Care.com service, employees will pay $25 for in-center childcare and $5 per hour for the in-home child or adult care, while Amazon will pick up more than 90% of the cost. The service is available 24/7 to meet the needs of those working nightshifts.
It’s the latest move to expand COVID-19 related benefits for the e-commerce giant, which has seen a spike in demand during lockdowns. However, the pandemic has put Amazon on the defensive, with several workers falling ill from the virus and Whole Foods employees demanding hazard pay and other benefits.
In April, CEO Jeff Bezos said Amazon would put $4 billion toward these expenses. Those plans include sourcing personal protective equipment for employees, higher hourly wages and double overtime pay for hourly workers through the end of May, and developing COVID-19 testing capabilities.
Amazon has hired 175,000 workers since the start of the pandemic across its delivery and fulfillment operations. Out of those new hires, 125,000 will be eligible for the care benefit as they’re converted into permanent roles.
Julia La Roche is a Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.