Inc. will pay the employees who pack and deliver its goods a one-time bonus of up to US$300, extra compensation that comes as the company faces a union drive and criticism from others for rolling back pandemic hazard pay.

The company said on Thursday that it would pay full-time operations workers US$300, and part-timers US$150, if they are employed by the e-commerce giant for the entire month of December. The cost to Amazon will amount to about US$500 million, logistics chief Dave Clark said in a corporate blog post.

Like many of its peers in retail who had offered hazard pay as an incentive for workers to keep coming in during the pandemic, Amazon ended its bonuses after an economic upheaval swelled the ranks of job seekers. The company ended its US$2-an-hour bump for hundreds of thousands of warehouse workers at the end of May. In June, it paid one-time bonuses of as much as US$500.

More recently, Amazon has faced criticism from some employees for trying to attract new hires with a US$3,000 bonus to ensure sufficient staffing to cover the holiday rush while only offering existing workers vouchers toward Thanksgiving turkeys. Earlier this week, a union drive organized by a group of workers at an Alabama warehouse became public, a rare step at a company that has worked to fend off organized labor in its ranks.

“Our teams are doing amazing work serving customers’ essential needs, while also helping to bring some much needed holiday cheer for socially-distanced families around the world,” Clark said in the blog post Thursday. “I’ve never been more grateful for -- or proud of -- our teams.”