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Return to office or lose your promotion, Amazon says

In May, Amazon rejected a petition from 30,000 workers against its return to office mandate

Tech giant Amazon will block promotions for workers who refuse to work in the office three days a week, according to leaked emails.

An email sent to employees, reported on by Business Insider, said: “Managers own the promotion process, which means it is their responsibility to support your growth through regular conversations and stretch assignments, and to complete all required inputs for a promotion.

“If your role is expected to work from the office three-plus days a week and you are not in compliance, your manager will be made aware and VP approval will be required.”

Read more: Return-to-office mandates are failing worldwide, study finds

After the return to office mandate was announced in February, 30,000 Amazon employees signed a petition against it.

However, the e-commerce giant rejected the petition.

This decision is indicative of a lack of communication between leaders and staff, according to Niki Fuchs, CEO of meeting room provider Office Space in Town.

She told HR magazine: “Amazon's in-office mandates are in no way unique to the market, it is how these policies are being used as a bargaining chip that many are taking issue with.

“This issue comes down to business culture as a whole. I understand the frustration when staff are not returning to the office and it is affecting culture, productivity, staff retention and more. However, the solution has to come through a balance of directives and finding common purpose.”

Read more: Is three the magic number for in-office working?

Jess Lancashire, founder of flexible work consultancy From Another, said applying a blanket policy is ineffective and unfair. 

Speaking to HR magazine, she said: “While some roles likely benefit from in-office time, there are many jobs today that can be done successfully remotely. Blocking promotions for remote workers categorically would result in losing top talent. 

“It could also exclude talented people like working parents or those with other caregiving responsibilities, who need flexibility in when and where they work. Forward-thinking companies should motivate talent in more creative ways than mandating set office days.”