Amazon Offers “Voluntary Severance” Program to Motivate Labor Cuts

On Wednesday, e-commerce giant Amazon confirmed they have begun a round of layoffs after several outlets let slip the online retailer’s plans to shave its workforce down by as much as 10,000 in personnel this week. It will mark the biggest such labor cut in the employer’s 28-year history.
According to an internal memo shared by Amazon’s senior vice president of devices and services Dave Limp, this initial phase of cuts will only impact roles within the devices and services team.

In the memo, Limp confided, “After a deep set of reviews, we recently decided to consolidate some teams and programs. One of the consequences of these decisions is that some roles will no longer be required.” He notes the company has already notified the employees impacted by the move, and assures Amazon will continue to carefully aid everyone with various kinds of support, including new employment assistance.

Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel confirmed both the news and the company’s commitment to help. In a separate statement, she cites “the current macro-economic environment” and years of expedited hiring as a reason some teams are making these adjustments. She also assures, Amazon does not take this unfortunate event lightly, and is “working to support any employees who may be affected.”

For now, the company has already distributed “voluntary severance” offers to some of the affected employees, mostly in employee services and human resources. When all is said and done, however, those employees affected are required to agree to resign by November 29. After this, their last day of work will be December 23.

Those who agree to leave the company will be eligible for a “lump-sum” base severance payment equivalent to three months of wage. On top of this, those who resign will also receive one week of salary for every six months of tenure they have earned during employment with Amazon. Finally, employees will also receive a weekly stipend for 12 weeks; these are aimed at offsetting COBRA payments since they will be able to keep their employer health insurance through the rest of the year.