March 30, 2023

  • Queen Elizabeth II was given a state funeral on Monday and many UK workers had the day off.
  • Amazon gave its workers an extra eight hours off to mark the event, despite many working ten hours.
  • Amazon employees told Insider that they have to use personal time to make a difference.

Britain stopped to watch as Elizabeth II was laid to rest in a funeral ceremony on Monday.

When the date for the Queen’s funeral was set the UK government announced that it would be a bank holiday, meaning employers could decide whether to give their employees the day off.

Many businesses, including large multinationals such as McDonald’s, have announced that they will close their doors during funerals. Some UK workers have not been paid time-off, as Insider’s Bethany Dawson reports.

At Amazon, however, the wheels of industry keep turning.

Two employees told Insider that the retail giant went partial to giving its employees the day off to mark the event, but stopped short of giving them full shifts off.

Both workers requested anonymity for fear of retaliation from the company.

Amazon workers at individual warehouses said the company gave workers an additional eight hours off.

Many Amazon workers work four 10-hour shifts, which means they actually have to have days off within two hours of their personal allotted time, both workers told Insider.

Insider Amazon’s employee app saw a post on Amazon A to Z that confirmed the company was offering eight hours off on the day of the funeral.

The same post states that workers are welcome to watch state funerals on site on television and use 90 minutes of their holiday allowance.

It also states that they can work a full day and use the extra leave at other times.

One part-time worker said HR told warehouse workers the company chose eight hours because that’s what corporate workers would get and it wanted to keep allowances equal.

He added that part-time workers were only given eight hours of holiday prorated depending on how many hours they worked each week – so a full-time worker who worked 40 hours a week got eight hours, a worker got 20 hours. Only got four during the work week.

Amazon boxes on conveyor belts at Amazon fulfillment center warehouses

The Denver Post via Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/Getty Images

As a part-time worker he still worked a full ten-hour shift, meaning he had to make up the difference.

Insider saw an internal company chat log where another part-time warehouse worker expressed anger at being put in six hours and working ten-hour shifts.

Both workers told Insider warehouse workers had to request time off, meaning managers had the power to deny it.

The part-time worker told Insider that she took some time off from her personal time so she could watch the funeral with her family.

“It will never happen again in my lifetime,” he told Insider.

“You have to think about what sacrifices he’s made throughout his life, and I think it’s the right thing to do,” he added.

Amazon did not comment on the specifics of the report when contacted by Insider.

A spokesperson said: “We are deeply saddened by the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Amazon UK has observed the bank holiday by offering all employees extra time off to pay their respects.”

Martha Dirk, director of Foxglove, a UK legal non-profit that works closely with the GMB union representing warehouse workers, told Insider Amazon of Amazon’s proposed time-off for funerals: “Another example of Amazon refusing to be straight with workers, letting them go dark and then saying they’ll pick up the pieces. I hope.”

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