Amazon shortens paid leave policy for employees infected with COVID-19

Amazon is shortening its paid leave policy for employees infected with COVID-19 following the change in quarantine guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Amazon told all U.S. employees on Friday that paid leave for COVID-19 quarantine will be shortened from 10 days to seven days. 

"Throughout the past two years, we have consistently based our response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the advice of our own medical experts," the company said in the announcement. 

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In late December, the CDC cut isolation times for people infected with COVID-19 from 10 to five days as long as they are asymptomatic. The agency said that the new policy applies to everyone, regardless of vaccination status. 

The change in guidance came amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. caused by the omicron variant and subsequent labor shortages due to those infections.  

The new variant is highly transmissible, but has shown to be somewhat more mild than previous strains, including the delta variant, according to preliminary data. 

Many companies and universities have adopted the new CDC guidance as an updated policy amid discussions at the state, local and federal level about how to deal with the pandemic in the long term. 

The United States has averaged close to 600,000 new coronavirus cases per day in the past week, according to data compiled by The New York Times.

The shortened isolation was based on evidence that COVID-19 mostly spreads in the first three days of infected individuals showing symptoms, the CDC said.

Updated 9:13 p.m.