Amazon says only a small percent of employees accept its $5,000 ‘pay to quit’ offer

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Once a year in mid-winter, Amazon fulfillment center employees are sent an offer called “pay to quit.”

Employees who take the offer get paid based on their years of services to the company, the first year the offer is $2,000 and goes up by $1,000 each additional year until it is capped at $5,000.

The headline of the offer is, “Please don’t take this offer,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wrote in a letter to shareholders in 2014.

The offer impacts more than 6,000 employees of the Seattle-based Amazon who work in the company’s fulfillment centers. Amazon is hiring 1,500 workers in Tucson for a new fulfillment center.

Lauren Lynch, a spokeswoman for Amazon, called it “a program we hope they never take.”

“We want people working at Amazon who want to be here,” Lynch said in an email. “The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want. In the long-term, we believe staying somewhere you don’t want to be isn’t healthy for our employees or for the company.”

Lynch said only a “small percentage” of Amazon associates take the company up on the offer. The company does not break the numbers out by state when asked how many employees in Arizona had taken the offer since it was announced in Bezos’ letter to shareholders four years ago.

The offer is open to full-time, regular associates, Lynch said.

In the shareholder letter, Bezos said the program was modeled on a similar program developed by Zappos, which Amazon acquired in 2009.

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