Amazon workers lose paid COVID leave
Amazon will no longer offer paid time off for employees with COVID-19.
The online retail giant announced the change, which went into effect on Monday after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its guidance surrounding the virus and the widespread availability of vaccines in the U.S.
Under the new policy, employees who contract COVID-19 will be given five days of excused, unpaid leave, according to a Saturday memo to employees.
Workers are also still allowed to use their sick time if needed. The memo also noted that Amazon will no longer send site-wide alerts about positive COVID-19 cases, and face coverings are no longer required, though they remain strongly recommended for unvaccinated employees.
Amazon has been slowly dialing back its COVID-19 leave policies since the start of the year.
In January, it shortened its paid leave policy for employees from 10 days to seven days. That change was fueled largely by labor shortages caused by the rapid spread of the omicron variant.
At the start of the pandemic, the company initially offered up to two weeks of paid time off for any employee who had COVID-19 and needed to quarantine.
The development comes shortly after Amazon was granted a hearing over its claims that a Staten Island facility’s successful vote to unionize, the first location in the U.S. to do so, was improperly carried out.
“We’ve always said that we want our employees to have their voices heard, and in this case, that didn’t happen — fewer than a third of the employees at the site voted for the union, and overall turnout was unusually low,” Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said of the vote.
–Updated at 2:01 p.m.
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