Amazon Launches Payday Advance Program for Warehouse Workers
Amazon recently launched a program called Anytime Pay, which provides payday advances to the company’s most financially vulnerable warehouse workers, allowing them to instantly access up to half of the money they’ve earned. The program is similar to an initiative introduced by Walmart in 2017 to provide advances before payday.
“Anytime Pay is an exciting new program that gives you fast access to the money you’ve earned, instead of waiting until the next paycheck,” reads a flyer on the program that was distributed to warehouse workers.
The program is specifically accessible for warehouse employees who work “pick-your-own-shift” jobs, which Amazon has promoted for their flexibility and career growth opportunities. However, Glassdoor reviews reveal that many workers in these positions struggle to be on the schedule and get enough hours, ultimately leading to difficulties making ends meet.
By using Anytime Pay, workers will likely receive a little less of their paycheck; by opting into the program, workers sign up for a pay card with software company Wisely and must pay fees at out-of-network ATMs to withdraw cash. According to VICE, a Wisely spokesperson would not provide a full list of fees associated with the pay card.
“As is customary with pay card solutions, the Wisely card generates revenue from transaction fees, for example, merchant interchange fees and certain ATM fees,” the spokesperson said. “It is important to note that pay card fee disclosure is required by law and all Wisely card fees charged by ADP are disclosed to our cardholders when they sign up for the card.”
In 2018, after criticism from Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) that Amazon was paying insufficient wages, the company raised its minimum wage for all employees to $15 an hour. Many warehouse workers, however, continued to find difficulties making ends meet. In March of this year, Amazon temporarily raised the minimum wage to $17 an hour to help workers during the pandemic, but ended that benefit in May, to the dismay of many warehouse workers.
A spokesperson for Amazon told Vice that Amazon was not paying Wisely for the services, and would not charge employees for the program.