Amazon will pause corporate hiring for months
By Brian Stelter and David Weigel
9 November 2014
Amazon employees across the globe heard Tuesday that the company would be pausing all new hiring for the second straight year this year. The company also ended its “sick out” this year, in which a large majority of workers went on strike in a bid to press for higher pay and better working conditions.
It was hardly a surprise. The company announced its decision late on Tuesday, after hours, during a call with employees where the topic of pay was discussed.
“In our current economic climate, we believe it is important to hold jobs for talent, not for financial reasons,” Amazon’s chief executive, Jeff Bezos, said in an address on the company’s earnings call Tuesday. “We will be pausing new hiring for the next few months until we assess what our business needs are, and we will then reinstate hiring on a smaller scale as soon as possible.”
By the standards of corporations, Amazon is not a particularly heavy-handed employer. It pays its employees $20 to $25 an hour, plus other generous benefits, including paid vacation. About 15,000 full-time employees have since last June taken the Amazon’s paid sick leave. The company also offers an unlimited paid parental leave plan to some of its employees.
But Amazon is a highly profitable company, making an estimated $15 billion last year. This year, the company estimates that it will earn about $6 billion, before it pays for additional costs like the new headquarters that it is planning to build in Northern Virginia.
The reason the company canceled new hiring and the sabbatical from its current workers was to ensure that it would be able to pay its workers’ health-care costs until they left the company. Under Amazon’s terms, employees who become eligible for the company’s retirement program would be able to take an amount of money out of their retirement account, which Amazon says is about $20,000 per year. If the company offered these employees the option of taking the money out of their account