Amazon, Lowe’s give ‘thank you’ bonuses to frontline US employees as coronavirus cases surge

SEATTLE — Amazon, Lowe’s and other major companies have announced bonuses for employees working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic as the number of newly confirmed cases surge in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Amazon announced Monday it will provide a one-time “thank you” bonus to all employees of Amazon and Whole Foods Market, which the company purchased in 2017, and partners who have been with the company since at least June 1 — totaling more than $500 million.

Full-time Amazon employees, Whole Foods Market employees and delivery service partner drivers will all receive a $500 bonus, while those in part-time roles will receive $250. All Amazon and Whole Foods Market leaders will receive a $1,000 bonus, owners of delivery service partners will get $3,000, and each Amazon Flex driver with more than 10 hours in June will receive $150.

The world’s largest retailer has also faced scrutiny during the outbreak regarding its safety policies, leading to protests and strikes by some of its workers.

Lowe’s similarly announced a special bonus for its associates in recognition of their “outstanding contributions” during the crisis, totaling $100 million. In mid-July, full-time hourly associates of U.S. stores, distribution centers and store support centers will receive $500. Part-time and seasonal associates will receive $150, matching previous bonuses provided to all hourly associates in both March and May.

Last week, Walmart employees across the country were given another round of bonuses for their dedicated work during the pandemic, while Target plans to compensate employees working in stores and distribution centers, including a bonus of $200 to eligible full-time and part-time hourly team members at the end of July.

Target also said it is permanently increasing its minimum wage to $15 an hour beginning July 5.

The bonuses to employees come as the U.S. on Monday reported 38,800 newly confirmed infections, with the total surpassing 2.5 million, or about a quarter of the more than 10 million cases worldwide, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Experts say the actual numbers, both in the U.S. and globally, are probably far higher, in part because of testing limitations and the large number of people without symptoms.

As a result, states such as Texas and Florida have backpedaled on their reopenings, ordering mandatory wearing of masks in public and closing down restaurants, bars and beaches.

This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.

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