Amazon offers workers $5,000 to quit

The program starts with $2,000 the first year and rises by $1,000 a year. Why? So only motivated employees stay.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 10, 2014 1:29PM
Credit: © Rick Wilking

Caption: Boxes from are pictured on the porch of a houseBy Jim Edwards, Business Insider

Here's our favorite part of Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos' annual letter to shareholders

He describes how the company will pay Amazon's warehouse workers up to $5,000 to quit their jobs.

The intent of the program is to ensure that Amazon retains only people who really, really want to work at Amazon.

"The second program is called Pay to Quit. It was invented by the clever people at Zappos, and the Amazon fulfillment centers have been iterating on it. Pay to Quit is pretty simple. Once a year, we offer to pay our associates to quit. 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. The headline on the offer is 'Please Don’t Take This Offer.' We hope they don’t take the offer; we want them to stay. Why do we make this offer? The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want. In the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company."

You can read the entire letter here.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

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Tags: AMZN
Apr 10, 2014 2:24PM
Can we give the same offer to Congress, the White House, and the heads of almost every federal agency?  That would be super.
Apr 10, 2014 2:06PM
The US government needs to offer the welfare queens a lump sum to get off welfare and not get it anymore.  How about it?  I'd call it the "$10,000 Lump Sum and Then You're Done" pay out.
Apr 10, 2014 2:50PM

If most of the companies I've worked for implemented this, the places would be vacant the next day.

Apr 10, 2014 3:55PM
I really think this is a great program, gets rid of the hanger's, promotes a stronger work force and people are happy not having to listen to the bitching from those who don't really want to be there. win/win
Apr 10, 2014 5:12PM

   Ya know, reading the comments which is usually more exciting than story here on  beautiful MSN> call me old (cuz I guess I am), But I remember when people were nice to each other and had respect for others.

We weren't Mexican Americans Or Chinese Americans or Latino Americans, we were AMERICANs.

I didn't have to press One for English, my food wasn't safety sealed for my protection, there were never any

major food borne illnesses. ( can't eat the peanut butter/spinach/toothpaste/chicken/hamburger lest you get salmonella/something. We prayed for our President no matter which party he belonged to.  You had pride, you didn't take a handout you because you made due or you went without.

   Now all I read is vitriol/hyperbole/tea party/democrat/real republican./ you against me. It's all ME,ME,ME,ME.

 If you don't like your job-QUIT we won't miss you. If your pissed off about your lot in life You fix it. If your mad at your kids school join the PTA or volunteer. Yes there should be an equal/level playing field and obviously it's not and getting worse cuz I think everyone is just looking out for themselves, PITY, the downfall of America, Think back to Rome/Greece/Vikings/England  

Apr 10, 2014 2:09PM
not only do they get rid of employees who may otherwise bring down the workforce but by the employee quitting they don't have to pay for unemployment benefits, etc..  at my small company we fired one employee and our contributiion to unemployment benefits went from less than 1% to over 7%.  So basically we will end up paying for that employee's unemployment benefit probably 10 fold over then next years. 
Apr 10, 2014 3:07PM
yeah but it's 5k in amazon gift cards!
Apr 10, 2014 3:29PM

Great idea columbusohusa, too bad it will never work. The system is way out of control and is only getting worse. Government assistance seems to be carried on through the generations and it shouldn't be that way. In our office we have 3 generations of one family all on Medicaid. Pathetic! Being poor should not be comfortable...

There should be a short lifetime benefit to public assistance!

Apr 10, 2014 4:14PM
Plus if the workers quit than Amazon doesn't have to pay any severance and the workers won't be eligible to file for unemployment benefits.
Apr 10, 2014 2:18PM

I would just make a plan to walk away with $5000, headed for a better job...Pretty simple really.

Unless there is more to this story than what is written...??

Apr 10, 2014 4:49PM
If you don't wake in the morning looking forward to work, change jobs. Otherwise you are in for a long miserable time.
Apr 10, 2014 4:12PM
They offer it so they don't have to pay unemployment when they lay them off.
Apr 10, 2014 4:39PM

Happy employees are the most productive, trustworthy, and loyal. Offering people money to quit also forms a fraternal bond among those that stay. There is a stronger sense of togetherness and pride in your company and what you belong to. Amazon is also known for having a really good workplace environment. They couldn't pull this off otherwise.


The great thing about it is that the managers don't have to get stressed out trying to remove a person that is unhappy or not working out - they will remove themselves, which keeps the work environment that much smoother and healthier.

Apr 10, 2014 4:57PM
They might pay you to quit, but $5000 doesn't go very far these days - It will all be gone before you find another job, considering that many job searches last for over a year (and the real unemployment rate is twice as high as the government says).
Apr 10, 2014 4:38PM
I know several people who have worked in the Amazon distribution centers and they don't need to pay to have them quit.  Most of them work themselves half to death to keep their jobs.  Ask Amazon why they have their own medical facility in the warehouses,  it's not out of kindness, it's because they work people so hard they end up needing medical attention.
Apr 10, 2014 4:57PM

As someone who worked for years in the unemployment system, I can see exactly why they have this in place. The money they would receive if they were terminated and then approved for unemployment benefits (because they were not determined to be terminated for a valid misconduct reason) would be a bit more than the $5K. And it would cause the unemployment tax rate of the employer to go up. So paying somebody to just get the hell out is a great cheap low stress way to get rid of a lousy employee who feels like they are on the road to being fired anyhow.

Why on earth do all these idiots on here think everyone in the whole world is a welfare drawing low-life except them? How long do you think a mother with three or four children could survive on $5K?

Amazon is hard, body destroying work. It's nothing you'd do for free, nothing you'd just LOVE to do. They are not good to their employees, and they chew them up and spit them out like chicklets. It is seasonal, and they have huge coveys of workers who come back to work for them seasonally, many of these elderly people. This isn't because they love it so, it's because they need the money!

 The rights and privileges that we obtained for workers in the last century are gradually being eroded away by the haves vs. the have nots, with the cooperation of the truly stupid who think they're haves till they get the screwing. They stand around actively preaching against "welfare" until they find themselves being the ones who need it. "They can't do this to me, can they?" Its what these posters deserve to find themselves saying.

Apr 10, 2014 4:51PM
I like the concept. Perhaps the Federal Government should offer something similar with the caveat you can't comeback or receive public assistance afterwards. How about offering 5k for getting a vasectomy. The only criteria you must be 18 to 45, a high school drop out, unemployed and have a rap sheet.       
Apr 10, 2014 2:06PM
Welfare will pay them more than that.
Apr 10, 2014 4:27PM
I would work at amazon in a heartbeat if there were a distribution center near me.  I have talked to a couple people that work there and they love their jobs.  There is an auction house that just recently opened up near me and the owner drives to an amazon distribution center and bids on truckloads of amazon returns and sells them for cheap.  My friend got a brand new rug doctor carpet cleaner for a hundred bucks.
Apr 10, 2014 2:56PM
As a taxpayer, I'd support this for all Local-State-Federal workers provided that the job was not backfilled by another lazy do nothing employee......After all, how essential is an employee's job if they're willing to leave in the 1st place.
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