Tech and e-commerce behemoth Amazon recently announced a downsizing round, reducing its global workforce by 10,000 employees across divisions, to brace for the economic slowdown. After the announcement, several Indian employees at the company started receiving plans for Voluntary Separation Program (VSP), urging them to resign voluntarily instead of the company terminating their contract.
Indian employees working in the L1 to L7 band in Amazon’s Experience and Technology team have received a note saying they are eligible for the company’s Voluntary Separation Program. Under the VSP, if employees resign by November 30 of this year, they are promised certain benefits.
The internal document says, “Pursuant to the VSP eligible employees will have the opportunity to resign voluntarily from employment in exchange for the VSP benefits.”
“Please remember that all Application Forms to participate in the VSP must be received via Smart forms no later than 6:30 a.m. India Standard Time on November 30, 2022,” the note further says.
The benefits mentioned in the VSP include:
“1. 22 weeks Base Pay; plus one-week base salary for every six months of service (rounded to the nearest 6 months) up to a maximum benefit of twenty weeks paid severance; plus
2. Medical Insurance coverage for 6 months as per Insurance Benefit policy or equivalent insurance premium amount in lieu; plus
3. Notice Period or Pay in lieu as per employment contract terms.”
Employees in performance improvement programs (PIP) are also not eligible for VSP.
Business Today has reached out to Amazon to check the timeline by when the benefits will be rolled out to employees after they resign. The copy will be updated when the company responds.
“There will be no obligation to repay any portion of VSP benefits if an exiting VSP applicant returns to Amazon after their Exit Date. Employees who are being performance managed as of their exit will not be eligible to return to Amazon,” the document says.
Bhagyashree Pancholy, employment law practitioner and general counsel at LanoGMBH, notes that upon resigning from the company, employees forego the right to contest the end of employment legally.
She told Business Today, “If an employee is fired by the company, the termination can be challenged legally. But when an employee resigns voluntarily, then they waive their right to challenge the end of employment in a court of law. This is what the company is saving on.”
Amazon’s attempt to urge Indian employees to voluntarily quit did not bode well with the Labour Ministry of India. On Tuesday, A Anjanappa, the deputy chief labour commissioner, sent a notice to the company to attend a hearing over the issue. Smitha Sharma, Amazon’s senior public policy manager has been asked to attend the hearing on November 23.
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