Amazon Didn’t Give Warehouse Workers Full Day Off for Queen’s Funeral
- Queen Elizabeth II held a state funeral on Monday, and many British workers took leave.
- Even though many work 10-hour days, Amazon is giving employees an extra eight hours of vacation to mark the event.
- Amazon employees told Insider they had to use personal leave to make up the difference.
Britain stopped to watch as Queen Elizabeth II was laid to rest at her funeral on Monday.
When the date for the Queen’s funeral was set, the UK government announced it would be a bank holiday, meaning employers could decide whether to put employees on holiday.
Many businesses, including large multinationals such as McDonald’s, announced they would close their doors during the funeral. For some UK workers, furloughs are unpaid, reports Insider’s Bethany Dawson.
At Amazon, however, the wheels of the industry keep turning.
Two workers told Insider that the retail giant partially furloughed employees to commemorate the event, but not completely off work.
Both workers requested anonymity to avoid retaliation from the company.
Amazon employees at different warehouses said the company gave employees an extra eight hours of vacation.
Both Amazon employees told Insider that many Amazon employees work four shifts every 10 hours, which means they actually need to take a day off within two hours of their personal allotment.
The insider reviewed a post on Amazon’s employee app Amazon A to Z, which confirmed the company was offering an eight-hour break on the day of the funeral.
The same post said workers were welcome to watch the state funeral live on TV and use their 90-minute holiday allowance.
It also said they could work a full day and use the extra vacation at another time.
One part-time worker said the warehouse worker was told by HR that the company opted for eight hours because that’s what company workers would get and wanted to keep the allowance equal.
He added that part-time workers only get eight hours of rest, depending on the number of hours they work per week – so a full-time worker with a 40-hour week has eight hours, while a worker with a 20-hour week has 8 hours. There are only four working weeks.
As a part-time worker, he still works full ten-hour shifts, which means he has to make up the difference.
Another part-time warehouse worker expressed anger at being given six-hour and 10-hour shifts, the insider reviewed an internal company chat.
Both workers told Insider that warehouse workers had to take time off, meaning the manager had the ability to say no.
The part-time worker told Insider he took some personal time to watch the funeral with his family.
“This will never happen again in my lifetime,” he told Insider.
“You have to think about what she sacrificed in her life, and I think that’s the right thing to do,” he added.
Amazon did not comment on the details of the report when contacted by Insider.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Amazon celebrated a bank holiday and all UK employees were given extra leave to pay their respects,” a spokesperson said.
Martha Dark, director of Foxglove, a legal UK-based nonprofit that works closely with the GMB union representing warehouse workers, told Insider that Amazon’s time off for funerals is: “Another example of Amazon’s refusal to have direct contact with workers, Leave them in the dark and expect them to pick up the slack.”