More and more, we hear about companies focusing on the well-being of their employees by offering more liberal policies and benefits packages, especially when it comes to big brands such as Apple, Google and Amazon.
However, Amazon in Germany is taking a different approach to paid sick days for its warehouse employees. German law requires employees to receive full pay for any sick days. Amazon Germany’s controversial policy, which was put into place in German fulfillment centers last year, gives workers 6 to 10 percent bonuses on their monthly salaries if they use fewer paid sick days. Sounds great, right? Well, the catch-22 is that workers can only reach higher bonus amounts if their co-workers also cut down on their sick days.
Anette Nachbar, a spokesperson for Amazon Germany, told Quartz, “It is a very good vehicle to ensure that people look out even more for safety. … So workers really look after each other, so there are no accidents, so people are taking care of each other and in their daily work people are cautious, so nobody is getting injured.”
Unfortunately, not everyone feels positively about the policy. Some say it puts workers against each other and encourages them to come to work ill. Thomas Voss, a representative for the trade union Verdi, told German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, “We reject that kind of health bonus.” And Thomas Klebe, the director of the Hugo Sinzheimer Institute for Labor Law, says he believes the policy “may be challenged by a labor court,” he told Quartz.