Amazon on Thursday said it is offering permanent jobs to 125,000 of the temporary workers hired to handle surging use of its online shopping service due to the pandemic.
Amazon expanded its workforce with 175,000 new positions in March as restrictions on movements shuttered real-world shops and had people staying home to avoid the virus.
“Like other companies, we hired these individuals for seasonal roles to meet a surge in demand and, for many, there was the hope of returning back to their previous companies once states began to reopen,” Amazon said in a blog post.
“As the long-term picture becomes more clear, we’re providing the opportunity for 125,000 of those who came on with us seasonally to stay with Amazon and transition into a regular, full-time role beginning in June.”
The move comes as Amazon’s role in delivering goods for consumers facing lockdowns and restrictions around the world, through its e-commerce platform as well as its grocery operations, grows.
But the company has also faced protests from warehouse workers and activists who claim Amazon has failed to do enough to keep them safe.
Amazon’s move came on a day when the US government said an additional 2.1 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits, bringing the total to more than 40 million since March.
The announcement came a day after Amazon shareholders turned back a series of proposals put forth by critics at the company’s annual meeting aimed at creating new social responsibility goals for the tech giant.
Amazon noted that it was among the first large employers to offer a minimum US wage of $15 an hour, well above the federal requirement, along with other benefits.