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Attendance bonus lands Amazon in hot water

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Union representatives in Germany say Amazon is using peer pressure to ensure employees turn up to work – even when they’re sick. A monthly attendance-based bonus system is said to create hostility among workers.

Amazon’s bonus system provides its employees in Germany with a monthly bonus of 6% to 10% of their monthly salary, but the amount of the bonus partly depends on how many paid sick days an employee’s team has used that month. The more sick days a team collectively uses, the lower the individual bonus each of the team members qualifies for that month.

Arguably, the system exerts pressure on employees to show up to work regardless of their health, since taking sick leave not only decreases their personal bonus amount, but also that of coworkers, German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reports.

According to the newspaper, bonus policies that reward individual workers for using fewer paid sick days are not uncommon in Germany, but union representatives have told news media they reject this kind of health bonus as it sets employees against each other.

Commenting on the policy to Human Resources, a spokesperson for Amazon Germany said it was designed with the health and safety of workers in mind.

“A portion of our compensation programme in Germany encourages a culture of teamwork around health and safety in the workplace. Employees are rewarded with bonus compensation for their individual attendance and are encouraged to help their fellow employees stay healthy and safe through a secondary group bonus compensation structure.”

Amazon employs almost 13,000 staff across Germany.

ALSO READ: Amazon to launch “radically simplified” annual review process

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