Amazon to cut paid COVID-19 leave for all US employees


FILE – People arrive for work at the Amazon distribution center in the Staten Island borough of New York, Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File)

(NewsNation) — Amazon is ending paid time off for U.S. workers who test positive for COVID-19.

In Saturday’s notice to employees, the e-commerce giant announced that all U.S.-based Amazon workers who test positive would get up to five days of excused, unpaid leave. Workers can still use their sick time off if needed, a spokesperson told NewsNation.

The company said the changes would take effect on May 2.

Amazon added that workers waiting for test results will no longer have time off excused since rapid tests are now widely available.

The company has gradually pulled back its COVID-19 policies as vaccines have become widely available, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its guidance.

In addition, Amazon will stop sending site-wide notifications of positive cases in its facilities unless required by law. The company said it would also end incentivizing vaccine efforts.

“The sustained easing of the pandemic, ongoing availability of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, and updated guidance from public health authorities, all signal we can continue to safely adjust to our pre-COVID policies,” the company said in the notice.

The decision comes amid pro-union workers arguments for bettering working conditions and improved benefits at its warehouses. Amazon’s notice also came shortly after an Amazon warehouse on Staten Island closed its union drive. The National Labor Relations Board is expected to begin counting ballots sometime next week.

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