Last Updated on 2023-11-25

How Amazon Morning Shifts Work: Pay, Schedules, & More

We worked with these active, experienced gig-workers to write this article and bring you first-hand knowledge.

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Phil Grossman

Experienced writer/researcher in the gig industry working alongside our gig-workers

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Justin “JJ” James

T1 Asssociate in a Delivery Station with 2+ years of experience working in the Stower, Picker, and Stager roles

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Shane Lynch

T1 Asssociate with experience working both a Delivery Station and Sortation Center working in the XL Associate, Receive Dock, Waterspider, Picker, Problem Solver, and Packer roles.

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Dustin Stowell

T2 in a Sortation Center with 3+ years of experience working in the Problem Solver, Scanner, Stager, Picker, Stower, Waterspider, Material Handler, and Unloader roles

This post is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, particularly in relation to the impacts of working night shifts as discussed in this post.

If you’re a morning lark and are considering working at an Amazon warehouse, you’ll be happy to learn that working in the early morning is an option. Amazon offers early morning shifts at all of its warehouses, including fulfillment centers (FCs), sortation centers (SCs), and delivery stations (DSs). 

A typical early morning shift at Amazon starts between 4:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. Sometimes, this it’s simply called the “morning shift” or “1st shift,” but Amazon usually calls it the “early morning shift.” 

However, not all early morning shifts conform to this model. For example, Justin “JJ” James , who has over two years of experience as a T1 associate at a delivery station, says, “the early morning shift at my DS starts at 3:20am, and they refer to it as Single Cycle or Cycle 1.”

It’s important to note that the early morning shift is different from the day shift, even though both start in the morning. The day shift usually starts between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. — slightly later than the morning shift. 

If you work an early morning shift, you may receive additional pay, called a shift differential, on top of your standard hourly wage. Shift differentials are typically between $0.50-$3.50/hour. However, working such an early shift can take a toll on your health, so you’ll want to consider that tradeoff when deciding whether the extra pay is worth it — Justin says that he’s been noticing his early morning shift is putting a strain on his physical and mental health.

In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about morning shifts at Amazon, including how to find them on Amazon’s official job board. If you’re not sure what shift is best for you and want a more general overview, check out our post about the different types of shifts at Amazon .

What is the Amazon early morning shift? 

Amazon broadly defines the early morning shift as any shift that starts between 4:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. 

There’s a lot of variability when it comes to end times. Shifts at FCs and DSs are often 8-12 hours, so you might find yourself working the early morning shift from 5:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. SCs typically have shorter shifts of around 3-5 hours, so you might work from 4:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. 

The early morning shift often pays a higher hourly rate, which Amazon calls “premium pay” (aka a shift differential). Premium pay isn’t a guarantee when working the morning shift though, so don’t expect to receive it unless it’s explicitly offered. 

What kinds of Amazon employees can work early morning shifts? 

Early morning shifts are available to most Amazon employees, regardless of whether they’re part-time, full-time, flex-time, reduced-time, or working seasonally, and employees at all the main warehouse types can sign up for them. 

If you want to work the early morning shift every time you come in to work, you can apply to any opening for that shift straight from the get-go using Amazon’s job board (we’ll show you how to do that later in this post). 

But if you want to only work the morning shift occasionally, there are options for that as well. Some positions offer Voluntary Extra Time (VET), which lets you work additional shifts on top of the hours you initially signed up for. VET isn’t available to all Amazon employees, so don’t bank on this. 

You can also apply for a job that uses a flexible (flex) schedule. In that case, you’ll choose which shifts you want on a weekly basis using the Amazon A to Z site (you’ll sign up for this once you’re hired). Shifts are typically routinely posted on Fridays, so you’ll select your shifts for the coming week at the start of the weekend. If you want to work morning shifts the following week, you can select them then. There’s a lot of competition for shifts among employees though, so if you’re not fast with a mouse or a tap, the morning shift might be gone by the time you select your schedule. 

If you’re dead set on working the early morning shift, the best strategy is to apply for a job with that shift straight away — that way, your preferred shift will be guaranteed.  

Does Amazon pay more for the early morning shift?

Amazon offers premium pay for morning shifts on a case by case basis — not all early morning shifts pay a higher rate, but some do. It’s not like the night shift , which pays a higher wage practically across the board. 

If premium pay is offered, it will say so in a blue banner on the job posting’s thumbnail, like so:

Premium pay is usually $0.50-$3.50/hour in addition to the advertised hourly wage. For example, this job offers $19.00/hour as the base pay, but pays up to $2/hour extra for shifts starting between 7:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., which includes the early morning shift:

Unfortunately, Amazon listings don’t tell you precisely how much the premium pay will be until your onboarding, called a new hire event (NHE), which will also confirm your position, schedule, and pay.

Shane Lynch , a T1 associate in Connecticut,  says, “the premium pay can go away without notice. The base wage is guaranteed. But when a facility is fully staffed they will remove the premium pay from the job.” 

How can I find early morning shifts at Amazon?

Amazon’s official job portal makes it easy to find and apply to morning shifts. The link here directs you to a search that’s already filtering for morning shifts, but if you want to change that, you can do so using the buttons in the navigation bar:

If you select “Add filter,” this pane will appear: 

Here, you can select which shifts you’re interested in. If you scroll down, you have more options, including length of employment (seasonal or regular), language, start date, and type of warehouse. 

You can also select “Guided” at the top left of the pane for a guided search that will prompt you to enter your preferences each step of the way. 

When you’re happy with your search criteria, select the blue “Show X results” button at the bottom right of the pane. The pane will collapse, and your search results will appear:

Any bonuses will appear as a banner over the thumbnail on the left. Here, we can see that these jobs offer either a $3,000 or $1,000 sign-on bonus, depending on the job. 

Select any job that interests you. Then, click on the dropdown menu under “Work shift” to select your shift:

This will show you the available shifts: 

Here, you can see the shifts available. The number in parentheses indicates how many hours per week you’ll be required to work. We can see here that each of these shifts offer a $3,000 sign-on bonus. 

This job also offers premium pay, but the job portal doesn’t tell you how much that will come out to. However, based on the main page, which lists a pay rate of “up to $19.25,” it’s safe to assume for now that the shift differential is $2/hour — just make sure you confirm this before signing on. 

Now, all you need to do is select a shift and tap/click the “Apply” button in the top right corner on the previous screen: 

Then, follow the instructions to apply. 

Is working the early morning shift bad for your health? 

Recent research indicates that working unusual shifts, such as the night shift and early morning shift, can harm your health and lead to serious issues like diabetes and heart attacks. 

For most people, working such an early shift is probably not ideal from a health perspective. Justin says, “I've been working the early morning shift for about a year, and it's starting to take a toll. Maintaining healthy relationships and balancing other responsibilities can be a challenge in the long term.”

That said, not everyone’s circadian rhythm is the same — some people are genetically predisposed to wake up late and sleep late, and others are natural early risers. If you’re naturally inclined to wake up early, you may be able to avoid many of the issues associated with shift work — a recent study showed that night owls can avoid most of the sleep penalties associated with night work, so it’s reasonable to assume that the same would apply to morning larks working in the early morning. 

If you’re considering working the early morning shift, check in with your doctor to discuss any health factors that may be relevant to your decision. 

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