As COVID-19 vaccines become available to individuals above 45 years of age in India, Amazon India is encouraging its employees, associates, sellers on Amazon.in and partners to get vaccinated at the earliest appropriate time to protect themselves, their families, and their communities. Amazon India will cover the COVID-19 vaccination cost for not only all its India employees and associates but will also cover the costs for operations partner network of Delivery Service Partner associates, including Amazon Flex drivers, I Have Space (IHS) store partners, trucking partners and also their eligible dependents. Amazon India announced that the benefit will also be available to all sellers, on Amazon.in with an active listing since last year.
The company has also set up comprehensive support mechanisms for employees and associates working with Amazon and hired through staffing agencies. Amazon India supports cost coverage for COVID-19 treatment, hospital search and coverage of prescribed COVID-19 tests. Initiatives have been scaled and evolved to address the prevailing situation.
Speaking about this development, Amit Agarwal, Senior Vice President & Country Manager, Amazon India, said, “Over the last year, it has been humbling to see the way our teams, sellers and partners have responded to the challenging situation posed by COVID-19 across the country. We have seen so much innovation, and most importantly across teams we have seen a strong urge to serve the people of India and keep customers safe. Health and safety of our teams and partners continues to be our top priority. We are encouraging eligible individuals to get vaccinated, and will cover the cost of vaccination for our employees, associates, Operations partner network, sellers and their eligible dependents to ensure their continued safety.”
These new benefits are on top of the $2.5 billion Amazon has invested in special bonuses and incentives for teams globally over the last year, and the $11.5 billion the company has invested in COVID-19-related measures overall. This investment has enabled the company to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and extensive safety measures for employees and partners throughout the global network along with other financial support initiatives.
In 2020, Amazon had rolled out a number of measures to support SMBs in its ecosystem in India to navigate the economic challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic including a variety of fee waivers, relaxation of policies, and we worked with an insurance provider to facilitate COVID-19 health insurance coverage for eligible sellers on Amazon.in. The company had also enabled ‘on demand disbursement’ to enable sellers to get their disbursements daily.
The Amazon Relief Fund (ARF) was launched in India in April 2020 with a $25 million relief fund for partners and continues to provide support to all eligible individuals. ARF can be utilized by qualifying individuals who have been quarantined or diagnosed with COVID-19. The company extended the ‘Amazon Relief Fund’ to all eligible delivery associates who are part of the Delivery Service Partner Program, Amazon Flex program and trucking partners providing transportation support in the event of financial hardships.
Amazon India also announced a Partner Support Fund for the Small and Medium Business enterprises part of the company’s logistics network who were financially impacted due to the nationwide lockdown in April 2020. This enabled their Delivery Service partners and select transportation partners to support thousands of their associates through financial hardships, and to help cover critical fixed costs and liquidity concerns of these entrepreneurs.