There are many benefits to frontline employees being vaccinated for COVID-19, mainly that they can't get the virus and can keep working but also that they provide security for customers. In order to entice its workers to get vaccinated, Amazon has instituted the 'Max your Vax' contest that offers up to 18 prizes valued at almost $2 million, according to Bloomberg.
The prizes include two $500,000 and six $100,000 cash prizes, five new vehicles, and five vacation packages and the contest is open to frontline employees, including warehouse and logistics workers as well as hourly workers in Amazon Fresh groceries, Amazon Web Service data centers, and Whole Foods Market, Bloomberg further reported.
It's surprising to see Amazon treat employee vaccination as an incentive rather than a mandate. This could be out of fear of losing more employees as the company already has a high turnover rate.
Amazon has long been under scrutiny for its underwhelming vigilance on how its employees are treated. Over the years, the firm has increasingly been accused of imposing a rigid, hyper-surveillant Orwellian structure that disregards basic human rights and safety.
Last May, the firm was also reported to be telling drivers to disable their safety app to hit delivery quotas. In essence, the company was encouraging drivers to drive recklessly and dangerously for its own benefit.
Other firms, such as Disney and Walmart, have made the vaccination shot a prerequisite to working but Amazon is still offering its employees the choice to get it or not, simply choosing to incentivise them through prizes.
Does this move indicate that Amazon is ready to take a more humane less Orwellian approach to how it treats its employees? Has the bad press and high turnover rate been enough to change the company's mind? Time will tell.