Leaked guidelines reveal more details about Amazon's controversial 'voluntary resignation' program for remote workers

 Amazon recently implemented a new policy called "return-to-hub," which requires employees to work out of centrally assigned office locations known as hubs. Under this policy, employees who currently work in an office nearest to their city may have to relocate, seek a team change, or obtain special approval to remain in their current location. Those who do not comply may be asked to leave the company under a "voluntary resignation" program. In an internal guide obtained by Insider, Amazon provides managers with a 10-page document to assist them in discussing the policy with their staff.

The guideline acknowledges that Amazon expects initial resistance from employees regarding the new return-to-office policy. It outlines the company's communication strategy and emphasizes that the employee is not expected to make an immediate decision during the initial conversation.

Amazon spokesperson Brad Glasser stated that the company has observed increased energy, collaboration, and connections among employees since they began working together in offices at least three days per week. Amazon continues to explore ways to bring teams together in the same locations and will directly communicate decisions that affect employees.

Here are key points from the guidelines:

1. Employees who voluntarily resign will not receive severance.

2. Employees who receive approval to stay in their current location will still be required to come into an office three times a week, even if their team members are located elsewhere.

3. Amazon managers are advised to approach these conversations with empathy and positive intent.

4. The goal of the new hub policy is to encourage more in-person work.

5. Amazon previously introduced a three-times-a-week office attendance policy in February, causing confusion among virtual employees or those who relocated during the pandemic.

6. Employees who do not wish to relocate near the hubs have three options:

- Request a "co-location exception" approved by a director and HR partner, with the requirement of coming into the office three times a week.

- Find a new team within 60 days that accommodate their needs, with some employees given up to 6 months to find a new team.

- Leave the company without severance, which will be considered a voluntary resignation.

Special exceptions and designations exist for remote work or jobs that require frequent visits to customer locations or other Amazon buildings. These exceptions require approval from Amazon's S-team, a group of top executives, and are considered on a case-by-case basis.

The guidelines provide managers with talking points and best-practice examples to navigate potentially resistant conversations with employees. It emphasizes leading with empathy, explaining the team's strategy, and offering options for employees who may not align with the approved locations. Managers are advised to notify HR and legal teams if employees threaten legal action.

The guidelines also include 15 potential Q&A templates, addressing employee concerns such as the need for relocation. Managers are instructed to emphasize that bringing teams together in the office supports growth, development, and customer service. Individual employee situations should be kept confidential, and questions about remote work exemptions should be answered by stating that personal circumstances are confidential.

Overall, the guidelines aim to provide managers with support and strategies for effectively addressing employee concerns and facilitating the implementation of the return-to-hub policy. 

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