Amazon’s median full-time U.S. employee made $36,640 in 2019, up $1,544 from the year before, the company disclosed in a securities filing Friday.
That increase in total compensation, including salary, bonus and stock grant value, but not a host of benefits including health insurance and parental leave, stems from the $15-an-hour wage floor the company implemented in late 2018. More than 500,000 of the company’s nearly 800,000 workers are in the U.S.
Global median compensation for Amazon employees was $28,848, up $12 from 2018. Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, one of the world’s wealthiest people, received total compensation from Amazon in 2019 of about $1.7 million, the majority of which was for personal security, according to Amazon’s preliminary proxy statement.
His compensation is used to calculate Amazon’s CEO pay ratio — a required disclosure comparing executive compensation to median employee compensation — of 1-to-58, unchanged from 2018.
Amazon also confirmed that its annual shareholder meeting, set for May 27, will be held virtually, accessible only online, to reduce “the carbon footprint of our activities” and “in light of evolving public health and safety considerations posed by the potential spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19.” The company’s annual meeting has been a backdrop for protests and a rare opportunity for activists, including Amazon’s own employees pressuring the company to do more on climate change, to directly question Bezos.
Several other companies, including Starbucks, are holding virtual meetings in deference to restrictions on public gatherings during the pandemic, but others, including Microsoft, made the switch previously.
Also revealed in the Amazon preliminary proxy: The company’s 10-person board of directors (who stand for reelection at the meeting) is seeking shareholder approval of an amendment to the company’s bylaws lowering the stock ownership threshold necessary to call a special meeting from 30% to 25%. A separate shareholder proposal calls for a 20% threshold.
Amazon owners of record on April 2 will vote on a broad slate of environmental, social and governance shareholder proposals made by activist investors. Proposals included on the company’s preliminary proxy statement seek reports on: food waste; potential customer misuse of facial recognition technologies; efforts to address hate speech and the sale of offensive products; global median gender and racial pay gaps; the time between hire and promotions for different gender and racial identities; efforts to identify and reduce disproportionate environmental and health harms to communities of color; risks of discriminating against different social, political and religious viewpoints; detailed lobbying policies and spending. Another proposal seeks an independent board chair.
The board recommended a vote against each shareholder proposal.
The preliminary proxy statement was not accompanied by Bezos’ usual letter to shareholders.