Debasish Chattopadhyay ; Kolkata, April 13: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Amazon and its network of partners across India are helping communities in a way that few can – delivering critical supplies directly to people who need them, particularly the elderly and more vulnerable sections. To support those who are enabling Amazon India to fulfil customer orders during this time, Amazon has extended the ‘Amazon Relief Fund’ to associates part of the Delivery Service Partner Program, Amazon Flex program and its trucking partners providing middle mile logistics support in the event of financial hardships.
This fund can be utilized by qualifying individuals who have been quarantined or diagnosed with COVID-19. While Amazon hopes none of the associates who are working hard to deliver essentials to customers are affected by hardship, the fund is there to support them financially with the help of a grant. This protects thousands of associates not employed by Amazon but who play an integral role in the logistics network helping customers stay home in this challenging time.
The Amazon Relief Fund has been set up globally with a $25 million USD initial contribution to support employees, qualified independent contractors, and employees of qualified vendors who face financial hardships from qualifying events. These events could be natural disasters, government declared emergencies, or unforeseen personal hardship.
“In these unprecedented times, the health and safety of all our partners and associates in India continues to be our top priority as we face the challenges associated with COVID-19. The Amazon Relief Fund is one such step to extend financial support to thousands of associates part of the Delivery Service Partner Program, Amazon Flex partners and our trucking partners providing middle mile logistics in the event any of them are quarantined or diagnosed with COVID-19” said Akhil Saxena, VP, Customer Fulfilment Operations, APAC & Emerging Markets, Amazon.
All associates working in Amazon buildings directly or through staffing agencies are already covered for medical insurance under the ESIC (Employee State Insurance Program). And should they be confirmed positive for COVID-19 or placed under quarantine based on direction from the Government or by Amazon, they will receive 2 weeks of pay over and above their available leave balance.
Amazon is committed to the health and safety of its associates, delivery service partners, drivers, employees, and customers, and has implemented a number of preventive measures. Amazon India has begun temperature checks in buildings to ensure that employees, associates, partners and support staff are healthy when they arrive at work. It has increased the frequency and intensity of cleaning at all sites, including regular sanitization of door handles, handrails, touch screens, scanners, and other frequently touched areas. Amazon India has also adjusted practices so that teams can adhere to social distancing whether at site or while even making deliveries to customers. This includes eliminating stand-up meetings during shifts, staggered shift start times and break times and spread out tables in the break rooms on site. Amazon India is also raising awareness among associates through regular communication which includes requirements that everyone wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, if soap and water are not readily available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer stations are easily accessible throughout Amazon India buildings – fulfilment centres, sortation centres and delivery stations. Amazon India recommends all associates wear re-usable facemask covering their nose and mouth from arrival through departure of their shifts at our sites, and also when they are out on the road during deliveries.