Frustrated Worker’s Email To Jeff Bezos Could Change The Way Amazon Pays Everyone

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A new mom working for Amazon was so frustrated at being underpaid by the company, she emailed founder Jeff Bezos to complain, sparking an internal investigation.

Its actions revealed that Amazon consistently underpaid workers on leave and that there were major issues with the company’s payroll and human resources systems.

The New York Times reports that Tara Jones, who works at an Amazon warehouse in Oklahoma, emailed Mr. Bezos in 2020 after finding out she was underpaid by $ 90 of the $ 540 per month she was owed due.

Having recently given birth, Ms Jones emailed the company founder, and second richest man in the world, to complain.

“I’m late on invoices, all because the payroll messed up,” she wrote.

Ms Jones added: “I am crying as I write this email.”

Amazon found in its internal investigation that the company was underpaying employees on leave, including those who were absent from work for medical or disability reasons.

The Times reports that the problem lasted for at least 18 months and that 179 warehouses may have been affected.

Another warehouse worker identified in the report found himself in such dire straits that his car was repossessed and he and his wife were forced to sell their wedding rings to buy food. and pay medical bills.

James Watts of Chattanooga, Tennessee, said his disability benefits ceased for several months in early 2021, wreaking havoc on his finances. The payment of allowances has resumed without explanation but the couple is still struggling to get back on their feet.

Perhaps one of the most extreme issues reported by the Times was that workers on sick leave were automatically dismissed by the company’s attendance software, which recorded their leave as an absence.

As employees struggled to correct issues, back office staff were overwhelmed.

Problems also arose when people tried to return to work after a period of leave, finding that the system was too backed up to process them.

Internal documents consulted by the Times refer to “inadequate service levels”, “poor processes” and systems “prone to delays and errors”.

Amazon has been criticized in the past for its treatment of its huge workforce, which is now said to number more than 1.3 million people.

In a statement to The independent, Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said, “We are disappointed when one of our employees has a problem with their leave. The New York Times article suggested that these problems are widespread and permanent. They are not. We went back and audited the period in question to make sure the employees were getting their pay, and to our knowledge there are no outstanding issues. “

She continued: “The controls we have put in place over the past 18 months have resulted in less than 1% of people having encountered a problem while on paid leave. Certainly, the unprecedented nature of Covid has strained our system’s ability to keep pace with demand and we have worked hard to invest and invent to do better every day. “

The company is committed to becoming the ‘Best Employer on Earth’ and CEO Andy Jassy, ​​who took over from Mr Bezos in July, has made a point of naming the leave system as a area in which they can improve.

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