Amazon cuts paid leave for workers with Covid-19 to 40 hours
Almost two weeks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its covid-19 isolation and quarantine guidelines – a decision some experts have called “Reckless and dangerous”– the country’s second-largest private employer decided that a change was also needed in its pandemic response policies.
In a notice to American workers on Friday, which the company provided to Gizmodo on Saturday, Amazon told employees it would reduce the paid time off it gives to people who test positive for covid-19 and to those exposed to someone infected with the virus after reviewing the CDC’s new guidelines. The company’s quarantine and isolation periods now last for one week, or seven calendar days, during which workers will receive up to 40 hours of paid leave.
The notice did not mention a negative covid-19 test in order to return to work. We have contacted Amazon to find out if this will be necessary.
Amazon previously offered workers 10 days of paid leave. In fact, when the The covid-19 paid vacation policy was implemented in 2020, the company originally provided workers with up to 14 days off. The most recent notice was reported by the the Wall Street newspaper and Engaged.
According to the notice, the new policy will take effect “immediately” and apply to all employees in the United States, whether or not they have been vaccinated. Nonetheless, Amazon said that âadditional leave optionsâ are available for workers who still have covid-19 after a week.
“As we have done throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to work closely with public health authorities and our own medical experts to determine the most effective ways to protect our employees and our communities. “the company told Gizmodo. “We continue to believe that the best way to protect our employees and our communities from COVID-19 is through vaccination. “
Amazon added that it had held more than 1,800 free on-site vaccination events at its facilities in the United States.
The policy is in line with the news CDC Tips published in late December indicating that people with covid-19 should only self-isolate for five days if they are asymptomatic. Those who have been exposed to covid-19 are only required to quarantine themselves for five days, the agency said. The new direction has been strongly criticized by connoisseurs in recent days for “confusing the public” and so as not to require people to test negative in order to break out of isolation and quarantine, the latter of which may increase transmission of the virus.
This is another notable change in Amazon’s response and policies regarding covid-19 for workers in recent weeks. In December, in the light of a increased infections in the United States linked to the latest variant of omicron, it required its warehouse workers to mask themselves again even if they were vaccinated.
Amazon’s announcement has arrived Days later Walmart, the country’s largest private employer, has also cut its paid sick leave from two weeks to one week for people with covid-19 or those who must self-quarantine due to the exposure. People who remain ill after their paid leave ends can potentially receive “additional covid pay for up to 26 weeks”, Reuters reported.
Amazon and Walmart’s decisions could open the floodgates and prompt other employers to implement similar policies. While the economy is certainly important, widespread policy change can force workers to make a difficult choice: go to work sick or not get paid. Ultimately, however, refusing to support sick or potentially sick workers and letting the virus spread could cost us more in the long run.