Last Updated on 2023-11-21

How To Maximize Your Pay As an Amazon Warehouse Worker

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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Alex Rodriguez

T1 Asssociate with experience across Decant, Waterspider, Stower, Packer, and Receive Dock roles

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Emir Dzaferovic

T1 Asssociate in a Fulfillment Center with 2 years of experience working in the Stower, Packer, and Waterspider 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.

Pay for Amazon warehouse workers ranges from $16-26/hour, with an average pay of $19/hour. That includes associates working at fulfillment centers, sortation centers, and delivery stations. The minimum wage for all Amazon employees is $15/hour. 

Amazon offers thousands of warehouse jobs across the country, so pay can vary wildly from one job to another. The best way to figure out how much you’ll earn is to look at the official Amazon warehouse job board — find a job in your area that you want to apply for, and see how much it pays. This will give you the most precise, accurate, and up-to-date information about how much you can expect to earn while working for Amazon. 

But Amazon’s starting pay doesn’t tell the full picture: all entry-level warehouse associates follow the Step Plan, which grants you automatic pay raises after your first 6, 12, 18, 24, and 36 months on the job (each facility handles this differently, so you may not get a raise after each of these time intervals — at some facilities, you may only get a raise at 12, 24, and 36 months, for example). That means that you can’t estimate your first year’s income based solely on the numbers Amazon advertises when you apply — you need to account for the fact that you’ll start earning a higher wage halfway through your first year. 

Example of Amazon Step Plan

There are also bonuses that aren’t reflected in the “sticker pay”: some jobs have significant sign-on bonuses, and working nights, weekends, early mornings, holidays (only if you’re not a seasonal employee), and overtime will give you premium pay (an increased hourly wage). There’s also “surge pay,” which gives flex employees a pay bump of $1-5/hour if they take on specific shifts where demand is particularly high and Amazon needs more workers to cover them. 

In this post, we’ll cover all the basics that you need to know about Amazon warehouse pay. 

How does Amazon warehouse pay work? 

The foundation of all Amazon warehouse pay is “base pay” — that’s the wage that you see listed on any posting on Amazon’s job board. For example, if you search for sortation center jobs, you’ll see a list of jobs like this:

The pay rate is referring to the base pay. If you click on any of these jobs, you’ll be prompted to select a shift:

Doing so will display all the available shifts for this position along with their respective pay rates:

The hourly rate listed is the base pay — here, it’s $19.00/hour for each of these shifts. Notice that they all include a $1,000 sign-on bonus and premium pay — neither of these are reflected in the base pay. The $1,000 bonus is a single, lump sum payment that you’ll receive with your first paycheck, and the premium pay is additional hourly pay that you earn for working an undesirable shift (in this case, the night shift). At other warehouses, you can find sign-on bonuses of up to $5,000 (in these cases, it’s typically paid out over time, not as a lump sum). 

This last part can be a bit confusing: even though you will always work the night shift in this specific position, and thus will always earn premium pay for every hour that you work, that premium isn’t reflected in the $19.00/hour base pay. Instead, it’s added on as a separate item on your paycheck called a shift differential. Based on the information we have here, we don’t know what the premium pay rate is, so we can’t know what the effective hourly rate comes to, premium pay included. You won’t be able to find that out until you get hired. 

Once you’re hired, you can expect to be paid weekly via direct deposit. Alex Rodriguez, who has two years of experience working at Amazon warehouses, says, “there is also the option for Anytime Pay, which allows you to get up to 70% of your daily pay deposited onto a Wisely Debit Card at the end of your shift. If you use this service, which is provided for free, you will get the remainder of your pay via a weekly paycheck as well (i.e., the remaining 30% or whatever amount you did not request onto your Wisely card).”

What are Amazon “shift differentials” and how much are they?

A shift differential is any kind of premium pay that you get for working undesirable shifts. This pay is added onto your paycheck in addition to your base pay. 

Amazon shift differentials are typically between $0.50-$3.00/hour. Alex adds that “shift differentials can go up to $5 or even higher per hour” for flex workers that take on shifts during periods of high demand. 

Example of a shift with surge pay

Currently, Amazon provides shift differentials for early morning, night, weekend, and holiday shifts as well as for working overtime. 

Here’s the general criteria for each of these shift types (holiday pay is a bit different, so we’ll look at that separately). Keep in mind that these are generalizations and are not representative of all possible shift times that fit into each of these categories.

  • Early morning: Start between 4:00-6:00 a.m. 
  • Night: Start between 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. Evening shifts start a bit earlier, but Amazon considers them a subtype of night shift. 
  • Weekend: Anytime between Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 6:00 p.m.

How does pay during holidays work?

If you’re a permanent (not seasonal) full-time or reduced-time employee, you get seven paid holidays per year:

  1. New Year's Day
  2. Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  3. Memorial Day
  4. Independence Day
  5. Labor Day
  6. Thanksgiving Day
  7. Christmas Day

That means that regardless of whether you’re scheduled to work on those days or not, you’ll get paid for them. If you’re full-time, you’ll be paid for 8 hours of work for each holiday, and if you’re reduced-time, you'll be paid for 6 hours of work for each holiday. Part-time workers may or may not receive holiday pay depending on their facility’s policies, and the pay may be reduced. If you do work on these holidays, you’ll be paid time and a half (1.5x your hourly wage). Flex workers, however, do not receive holiday pay unless they work, in which case they’ll be paid time and a half. 

Based on the example job above, a full-time employee that’s not scheduled to work any of these holidays would receive $1,064 (8 hours * $19/hour * 7 holidays) in holiday pay each year. If that same employee were scheduled to work every holiday, they would be paid $1,596 (1.5 * 8 hours * $19/hour * 7 holidays).  

How does overtime pay work at Amazon?

Overtime pay functions basically the same as shift differentials, but it’s technically not the same thing. If you work more than 40 hours per week, any amount of time over your 40th hour is considered overtime and is compensated at double your base pay rate. 

So, if you’re normally paid $19.00/hour, you’ll earn $38/hour while working overtime. 

Typically, only standard full-time and flex full-time and reduced-time employees are eligible for overtime, and you can’t work more than 60 hours per week (a maximum of 20 overtime hours per week). Alex notes that in California, overtime pay “kicks in on any extra hour you work that is not part of your weekly shift, even if you are part-time.”

How to maximize your earnings at Amazon

If you want to earn as much as possible while working at an Amazon warehouse there are three steps you can take:

1. Apply for a job with a sign-on bonus

Lots of Amazon warehouse jobs offer sign-on bonuses — so many, in fact, that you can use that as part of your search criteria on Amazon’s job board. 

To do so, simply go to, and click “Find jobs near you.” Then, at the top of the next page, toggle on the “Sign-up bonus” filter:

Now, you’ll only see jobs that offer sign-on bonuses. If you don’t see any, check back around the holiday season — that’s when they’re most common.

2. Apply for a shift with premium pay

Next, filter your search by shifts that are more likely to offer premium pay. To do so, click “Add filter”:

This pane will appear: 

Under “Schedule hours,” select any shift that typically offers premium pay (early morning, evening, night, or weekend). 

If you want to receive holiday pay as well, make sure you select “Regular” in the dropdown menu below “Length of employment”:

Now, most of the jobs in the search results should offer premium pay. Confirm this for each individual job by checking for the blue “Premium pay” badge when selecting a shift:

If this badge doesn’t appear, do not assume that you’ll receive premium pay anyway. 

Keep in mind that recent research indicates shift work can cause serious health problems, so make sure you take that into account when choosing a shift. 

Alex says that “a lot of night time associates complain about a lack of a normal social life and consistently feeling tired. Even the extra pay does not make up for it, with many wanting to switch to regular daytime or, at least, evening hours. Keep this in mind when deciding whether to accept a night shift position or not.”

3. Take shifts that earn you premium pay

If you choose either a standard full-time position or a full-time or reduced-time flex position, you will be able to work overtime, during which you’ll be paid more than your base pay rate. The precise amount that you’ll be paid varies from state to state. Shane Lynch, a T1 associate in Connecticut, says that in his state, overtime is paid at 1.5x the normal rate (“time and a half”). 

If you are on a flexible shift schedule, take shifts with shift differential pay (early morning, night, etc.) that are available to you on a week-to-week basis.

Emir Dzaferovic, a T1 associate at a fulfillment center, says, “the premiums are almost always on the same shifts, the overnight and very early morning shifts. If someone wanted to maximize their profits over a long period of time I would recommend being consistent with the shift times you pick up and tailor your sleep schedule around that.”

4. Perform well to get raises

Entry-level Amazon workers at fulfillment centers, sortation centers, and delivery stations receive guaranteed pay raises after 6, 12, 18, 24, and 36 months as part of the Amazon Step program. However, the precise times at which you’ll receive your raise vary from warehouse to warehouse — some may offer raises at 6, 12, and 24 months, others may offer them at 12, 24, and 36 months, etc. 

You don’t need to outperform your coworkers to get a raise, you just need to not quit or get fired — as long as you stay on board, you’ll get a pay increase. So, make sure you show up on time, don’t break any rules, and perform all your duties as you’re instructed. 

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