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Amazon to workers: We'll pay you $5,000 to quit

Posting in Finance

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wants to know just how loyal his warehouse employees are. So, he's offering them $5,000 to quit. 

The "Pay to Quit" program is one of several employee empowerment programs, according to the chief executive's letter to shareholders, which was filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this week.

The program was initially started at online retailer Zappos, which Amazon acquired in 2009. The program was rolled out to Amazon's 40,000 warehouse employees in January, reported CNN Money.

In the letter, Bezos writes:

Pay to Quit is pretty simple. Once a year, we offer to pay our associates to quit. The first year the offer is made, it’s for $2,000. Then it goes up one thousand dollars a year until it reaches $5,000. The headline on the offer is “Please Don’t Take This Offer.” We hope they don’t take the offer; we want them to stay. Why do we make this offer? The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want. In the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company.

According to the company less than 10 percent of its employees who were offered the $5,000 actually took the money and left. 

Would such a program work at your company? Does this concept only work with lower paying jobs such as those with annual salaries of $30,000 or less? Or could it help weed out employees at big tech companies too?

Thumbnail photo: Flickr user Steve Jurvetson

— By on April 11, 2014, 6:17 PM PST

Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure