Amazon to subsidize child, adult care for workers as coronavirus recovery takes shape

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 1 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 (IAC), a website that connects families with caregivers, and both full-time and part-time employees will be eligible for the benefit.  

An Amazon distribution center is seen as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States, on April 25, 2020 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. – Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered a mandatory shutdown of nonessential businesses, including all casinos, in the state through at least April 30, 2020 to help combat the spread of the virus. The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic on March 11th. (Photo by David Becker / AFP) (Photo by DAVID BECKER/AFP via Getty Images)

Through the 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. They will also be eligible for the care benefit.

Julia La Roche is a Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on 

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