Amazon Will Pay You to Quit Your Job
Black Enterprise magazine Fall 2019 issue
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We’ve all had jobs that weren’t exactly the most exciting, and even a few where we downright loathed coming into the office.

But how many jobs have you had where the company encouraged you to quit?

If you work at Amazon, you have at least one job on that list.

Amazon’s employee buyout program is called Pay to Quit, and it’s pretty simple, according to Jeff Bezos. “Once a year, we offer to pay our associates to quit,” Bezos wrote in his annual letter to shareholders. “The first year the offer is made, it’s for $2,000. Then it goes up one thousand dollars a year until it reaches $5,000.”

The somewhat controversial practice isn’t a brainchild of Amazon, however.

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Zappos, the largest online shoe retailer, introduced this program to its employees, dubbed “The Offer,” where after a month of training, new employees can receive payment for their month of work as well as a $2,000 bonus. The program could be potentially exploited for some quick cash, but according to Zappos, only 3% of new hires take the bait.

Amazon purchased Zappos in November 2009 for $1.2 billion.

Offering someone a few grand to quit their job may sound ludicrous, but Amazon sees it as a way of boosting morale in the workforce.

After all, a happy worker is more productive than an unhappy one, according to Warwick Business School economist Andrew Oswald.

The program is also a small investment to pay when you consider the money lost during the hiring process, recruitment, training, and low productivity from unhappy workers. Amazon’s CEO agrees. “In the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company.”