Losing a loved one is always difficult. As an Amazon seller, you still need to handle business operations when grieving. Understanding Amazon‘s bereavement policy is crucial.
This guide will explain everything sellers need to know about taking bereavement leave on Amazon, including how time off impacts your account, communicating with buyers, using automation, and more.
How Does Bereavement Leave Affect Amazon Sellers?
Taking even a few days off can significantly impact your Amazon business as a seller. Here are key effects bereavement leave can have:
Lost revenue – Your sales will likely decrease while you are away and not able to ship orders. Even 3 days could result in hundreds in missed revenue depending on your sales volume.
Negative feedback – If buyers place orders that you cannot fulfill on time, you may receive complaints and negative ratings. This can hurt your seller metrics.
Increased returns – Delayed shipping and unfulfilled orders often mean more customers returning items. Returns are a major cost factor.
Lower search rankings – Your response rate and ODR may drop if you cannot monitor orders. This can demote your listings in search placement.
Violated performance standards – Not shipping on time or responding to messages can cause policy violations if you exceed order and communication metrics.
Reduced visibility – Taking extended leave can allow competitors to overtake you in Buy Box percentage and advertising visibility. Regaining position is difficult.
Clearly, even brief bereavement leave can substantially impact your business on Amazon. Advanced preparation is essential to minimize revenue and account damage.
Can Sellers Get Fired for Excessive Unpaid Time Off?
Yes, you can potentially be deactivated for excessive absences, even if due to bereavement. Here are the risks:
Taking over 3 days of unpaid leave reduces your UPT balance to negative hours. Just a few hours of negative UPT will get you fired in many cases.
Amazon‘s system automatically terminates sellers once they go negative on UPT. There is no human oversight.
You can receive warnings from Amazon if your shipping and communication metrics decrease. Too many warnings lead to suspension.
If you cannot ship orders for an extended time, Amazon may see you as unable to meet their demanding performance standards and remove your selling privileges.
Unless you carefully manage your time off, account issues and policy violations can stack up in just a few days of absence. Tread very cautiously when exceeding paid bereavement leave.
How Much Leave Time Do Sellers Typically Take?
Most sellers take 1-3 days off for bereavement based on Amazon‘s policy. However, the following factors often result in needing more time:
Required travel – Attending a funeral may require significant travel if it is located far away from your home or fulfillment center. This can add days.
Estate management – Settling complex financial, legal, and real estate affairs after a death often takes weeks. This may require extended time off.
Cultural traditions – Some cultures have mourning and bereavement traditions extending beyond 3 days. As an example, Muslim bereavement periods traditionally last 40 days.
Personal circumstances – Grieving and trauma affects everyone differently. You may naturally need more time before being ready to operate your business fully.
Use your best judgment based on your specific situation. Communicate closely with Amazon if you require over 3 days off and try to avoid going negative on UPT.
Handling Amazon Orders When Taking Bereavement Leave
When taking time off, you need to properly manage your Amazon orders to avoid issues. Here are some tips:
Set vacation status – Use the vacation setting to indicate you are away. This lets buyers know shipments will be delayed.
Adjust handling time – Temporarily increase your shipping target to build in processing lag time. This prevents violations.
Enable auto-replies – Set up automatic email and order responses to notify customers you are away and when you will ship.
Ship existing orders – Make an effort to clear all existing orders before starting leave. Do not leave buyers hanging.
Pause listings – Consider temporarily halting new sales on current listings so that orders do not accrue when you cannot ship promptly.
Communicate with Amazon – Let your account manager know you will be away so they understand any account changes.
With the right preparations, you can taking bereavement leave smoothly without major impacts to your buyers and orders.
Can You Automate Parts of Your Business During Leave?
Yes, automating aspects of your Amazon business can help fill the gap while taking bereavement leave:
Set up automated emails – Use services like Feedback Five to send automatic order status updates and respond to buyers.
Outsource order processing – Hire contracted remote workers to manage shipping, returns, and customer service for you temporarily.
Use repricer tools – Automated repricers will keep your listings competitive on price while you are away and unable to manage pricing.
Schedule social media – Buffer, Hootsuite and tools like them allow you to auto-schedule social posts and ads during your leave.
Pre-plan product launches or promotions – Set your promotional calendar ahead of time so deals launch automatically while you are off.
Automation enables your business to hum along fairly smoothly for a short leave period without your constant presence. But it is not a total replacement for you managing everything personally.
How Does Bereavement Leave Vary Across Amazon Marketplaces?
Bereavement leave details vary notably across Amazon‘s global marketplaces:
|Marketplace||Days of Leave||Paid or Unpaid?|
|United States||3 days||Paid|
|UK||Depends on contract||Paid/Unpaid|
|Germany||No required leave||Unpaid|
Rules differ even more when accounting for laws in states like Oregon and countries with national bereavement leave mandates.
Carefully research the specific benefits you are entitled to if managing an international seller account on Amazon.
My Bereavement Leave Experience – Seller Interview
I spoke with Mary, a 5-year Amazon seller, about her experience taking bereavement leave last year after a close family member passed away:
Q: How much time were you able to take off?
A: I ended up needing almost 2 weeks away in order to travel for the funeral and handle family affairs. It was difficult being away that long but absolutely necessary.
Q: How did you manage your seller account and orders?
A: I notified all my buyers of delayed shipments and enabled automated emails. I also outsourced order processing to a contractor I use periodically. My sales did decrease but the automation kept things running.
Q: Did you run into any issues with Amazon?
A: My account did receive some warnings about late shipments and response rate drops. Luckily I explained the situation to Seller Support and they retracted the warnings given the circumstances.
Q: What advice would you give other sellers planning bereavement leave?
A: Communicate with Amazon support as much as possible and make sure your buyers know you may be away. Tools like automated messaging are extremely helpful. And process existing orders before you leave!
Final Tips for Smoothly Managing Bereavement Leave
Taking time off while running an Amazon business presents unique challenges. Here are some final tips:
- Notify Amazon support of upcoming leave so they understand potential changes
- Process all existing orders before starting leave
- Pause incoming orders or increase handling time
- Use automation to manage basic functions while away
- Communicate leave details and delays proactively with buyers
- Carefully track UPT usage if taking unpaid time off
- Check if state laws provide greater leave benefits than Amazon policy
- Consider outsourcing order and communication work to assistants
With proper preparation, sellers can take bereavement leave smoothly. Understand how the process affects your account and put tools in place to minimize business impact.
Hopefully sellers will not need to use this guide frequently. But when a loss happens, knowing Amazon‘s bereavement policy details equips you to handle both personal and professional needs during an enormously difficult time.