Posted: April 16, 2018
By Rose Kennedy for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
As 20 cities strive to become the site of Amazon's next headquarters, aka "HQ2," an important question needs answering: What's in it for potential employees?
According to business publications like Business Insider and Fairygodboss, those employees would be in good hands.
Though Amazon does not appear on the ranks of the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® 2017, it does offer premium benefits and perks to its full-time employees and it would extend the same or similar packages anywhere it chose as a second headquarters.
As its VP of HR John Olsen told Business Insider, the company provides uniform benefits across all levels of employees. "My benefits package is the same as a benefits package here at the fulfillment center," he said. "I think we've got an egalitarian process."
Here are six current Amazon employee perks or benefits:
Top-rate tuition reimbursement. Amazon corporate communications manager Nina Lindsey included this teaser on the full breakdown of Amazon benefits she shared with Business Insider: "Both full-time and part-time hourly employees are eligible for Amazon's innovative Career Choice program that prepays 95 percent of tuition for courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a future career at Amazon." Amazon even steers students to a few good bets in the future economy, though they don't match the company's hiring profile (at least not yet). "Career Choice allows employees to develop in-demand skills for professions of the future, including medical technicians, paralegals, robotics engineers and solar panel installation professionals," the website enthuses.
Some of those classes might even be held onsite at the HQ2 if the current headquarter continuing education strategy is duplicated.
A "network of support" when it's a jungle out there. According to the Amazon jobs site benefits link (and with the caveat that these benefits apply to full-time employees and may vary by location), company benefits designed to "make life a little bit easier" include an extensive and free, employee assistance program. It provides confidential 24/7 support for multiple aspects of work and personal life. This assistance runs the gamut: from access to financial counseling and estate planning to online assistance with children's developmental disabilities.
Dental and vision insurance for part-timers. According to the Amazon jobs link, employees who work more than 20 hours per week still receive "funding towards medical insurance" and dental and vision insurance with "premiums paid in full by Amazon."
A bias-resistant interview process. Amazon's rating on the women's work website Fairygodboss isn't too rousing: Just 33 percent of its female employees who offered feedback would recommend it to other women. But Amazon did get a glowing review of its ongoing interview process improvements.
"Amazon has even incorporated bias training into their interviewing practices so that every Hiring Manager and Interviewer considers subconscious biases they may have coming into the interview (an example would be women coming across as 'abrasive' in an interview whereas a man would come across as showing backbone)," one woman wrote.
Enhanced ability to adopt. According to the Amazon jobs page, the company also gives full-time employees help with qualified domestic and international adoption expenses including attorney fees, court costs and travel. The adoption edge at Amazon also includes leave prior to, and following, the birth or adoption of a child. It taps into Amazon's industry unique "Leave Share" option, where an employee can share time off with a spouse or domestic partner whose workplace doesn't offer the option.
Bring your dog to work every day. Really devoted pet parents would adore working at Amazon, at least if HQ2 follows the current headquarters. Fairygodboss describes Amazon as "a dog owner's dream. On any given day, you can find hundreds of dogs roaming the company's campus, where they happily enjoy doggie water fountains, a dog park, and treats at the reception desk."
As solid as the Amazon's job benefits are, Atlanta would do well to also try to draw an Audible outpost for top worker perks. The Amazon-owned company, based in Newark, listed some of these perks for employees during a recent hiring spree, according to Business Insider: In-house gym, Happy Hour on Fridays, tuition assistance, transit reimbursement and a breakfast and juice bar on Mondays.
David Ryder/Getty Images
David Ryder/Getty Images
President Donald Trump slammed e-commerce giant Amazon on Thursday, claiming that the company pays few-to-no taxes and that its use of the U.S. Postal Service is “causing tremendous loss to the U.S.”
“I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election,” the president wrote Thursday on Twitter. “Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!”
Amazon shares dropped Wednesday after an unidentified source told Axios that Trump was looking for ways “to go after Amazon with antitrust or competition law.” Trump has also criticized Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post.
“He’s obsessed with Amazon,” an unidentified source told Axios. “Obsessed.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that despite the president’s comments, no specific policies were being pushed in regards to Amazon.
“The president has said many times before he's always looking to create a level playing field for all businesses, and this is no different,” she said.
Thursday’s comments were not Trump’s first criticisms of Amazon.
The president claimed in December that the post office was losing “many billions of dollars a year” and “charging Amazon and others so little to deliver their packages, making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber and poorer.” He wrote that the post office, “Should be charging MUCH MORE!”
Last summer, he questioned whether “Fake News Washington Post” was “being used as a lobbyist weapon against Congress to keep Politicians from looking into Amazon no-tax monopoly.”
The speculative comment earned a “Pants on Fire” rating from Politifact.com, the fact-checking group’s category for statements it deems to be most erroneous. The group noted that while Amazon is a large company, it’s not a monopoly.
“While Amazon takes advantage of tax breaks and loopholes, it pays federal corporate tax, and charges sales taxes in 46 U.S. jurisdictions,” according to Politifact. “It also supports federal legislation that would require other online retailers to pay state tax on internet sales.”
The online retail giant is looking at the possibility of acquiring some Toys R Us locations as it expands its brick-and-mortar footprint across the country, Bloomberg reported. The stores could be used to showcase its Echo devices.
Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy last week. At the beginning of 2018, the chain had more than 800 stores before announcing in January that it would shutter 180 stores.
“Today marks the dawn of a new era at Toys R Us where we expect that the financial constraints that have held us back will be addressed in a lasting and effective way,” said Dave Brandon, chairman and chief executive officer.
The possible interest comes as Amazon enters the brick-and-mortar game. The company purchased Whole Foods last year and is also opening bookstores. Its cashless convenience stores, Amazon Go, are also reportedly expanding in states across the U.S. in coming years.
So, how does Amazon Go work? Consumers use the Amazon Go app to enter the store, take the products they want and walk out. No checkout. No lines.
The store’s technology uses computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning to automatically detect when products are taken or returned to the shelves and keep track of them in a virtual cart. Customers grab their items and go, and then their Amazon account is charged with the bill. The store will offer ready-to-go meals, grocery essentials and even locally made food.
Officials with e-commerce giant Amazon are in talks with big banks to build a checking account-like product, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.
The newspaper reported Monday that the Seattle-based company is working on a product that would appeal to younger customers and those without bank accounts. Among the companies Amazon officials are speaking with is JP Morgan Chase & Co., according to the newspaper.
Whatever its final form, the initiative wouldn't involve Amazon becoming a bank, the people added.
The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.
Kids aren’t supposed to be able to shop on online retail giant Amazon’s site, but parents are saying the company it’s not doing enough to keep children from buying items they shouldn’t be.
Now California lawmakers are telling Amazon officials that they should prevent children from buying items like BB guns or knives, KCRA reported.
Alan Ercolini’s 14-year-old son was able to buy the weapons without age verification, KCRA reported. His son set up his account with a gift card. California law prohibits stores from selling children BB guns. The site, however, assumes the person buying anything on Amazon is an adult, according to the TV station’s investigation.
California Assemblyman Ed Chau, (D- Monterey Park) is already taking steps to change the law. He has introduced a bill that prohibits children from applying and getting any online account that requires a password, KCRA reported.
Amazon told the television station that it indicates when products can’t be sold in some states, but it doesn’t have age restrictions on items sold, KCRA reported.
Representatives of a California development team planning a redevelopment of 27 acres of downtown Atlanta’s Gulch pitched design concepts Thursday they say would create a vibrant and mix of offices, shopping, restaurants and residences over what is today an empty morass of parking.
Representatives for CIM Group presented what they called a design concept with private streets and expected building sites over future structured parking, similar to the construction of Midtown’s Atlantic Station.
CIM Group is seeking a special administrative permit that requests variances from current zoning that mainly relate to aesthetics. The conceptual plan calls for more than 9 million square feet of office space, 1 million square feet of retail and restaurant space, 1,000 residences and 1,500 hotel rooms.
For perspective, the project would have more office space than what is being sought by Amazon for its ballyhooed second headquarters project, known as HQ2. It’s an enormous undertaking rivaling in scope downtown’s Peachtree Center development.
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