With people being urged to stay at home as much as possible during the novel coronavirus pandemic, Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) has become an inadvertent beneficiary as e-commerce activity and online orders soar. The company announced this week that it would be hiring 100,000 new full- and part-time workers within fulfillment centers and its broader delivery network in order to "meet the surge in demand from people relying on Amazon's service during this stressful time, particularly those most vulnerable to being out in public."

Additionally, Amazon says it will also boost wages across different geographical regions through April, according to operations chief Dave Clark.

An unexpected seasonal spike

At the end of 2019, Amazon had nearly 800,000 full- and part-time employees, according to the company's most recent annual report. Amazon's business is highly seasonal and the company typically hires contractors and temporary workers during peak times -- such as the holiday shopping season -- to supplement the workforce. The pandemic is creating a surge in demand at an unusual time.

Amazon worker loading Amazon boxes on a conveyor belt

Image source: Amazon.

"Getting a priority item to your doorstep is vital as communities practice social-distancing, particularly for the elderly and others with underlying health issues," Clark wrote. "We are seeing a significant increase in demand, which means our labor needs are unprecedented for this time of year."

More specifically, Amazon notes that workers in certain industries that are being disproportionately impacted like hospitality, restaurants, and travel are especially worried about making ends meet. The company hopes to offer those people temporary employment "until things return to normal" and they can go back to their previous jobs.

As far as the wage increases, Amazon is boosting pay in several regions through the end of April.

Region

Wage Increase

U.S.

$2 per hour

Canada

2 Canadian dollars per hour

U.K.

2 pounds per hour

Many EU countries

2 euros per hour

Data source: Amazon.

Amazon previously increased its minimum wage to $15 per hour in the U.S. back in late 2018 following criticisms that the company wasn't paying a living wage while also paying little to nothing in federal income taxes. The fresh pay bump is expected to cost an estimated $350 million.

The company has been trying to crack down on unscrupulous third-party merchants that are trying to price gouge many basic necessities in an effort to profit on the pandemic. Amazon is also prioritizing essential categories over non-essential products as it tries to restock inventory, according to Reuters.