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Amazon Shortens Paid Leave For U.S. Workers With Covid After CDC Changes Guidance

Following updated US health recommendations, Amazon.com Inc advised employees on Friday that they only need to isolate for a week after testing positive for COVID-19, rather than the usual ten days. The Omicron coronavirus has caused a surge in infections in the United States, as well as staffing shortages at schools, airports, and companies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States backed up recent guidelines on Tuesday that patients who get the virus can be released from isolation after five days.

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Amazon’s new week-long isolation policy takes effect immediately, according to a note to employees provided with Reuters by the online company. Workers infected with the virus are eligible for up to 40 hours of paid leave, a reduction due to the shorter isolation period. The notice stated, “Do not come to work if you are sick.” “For those who are symptomatic for more than a week, further leave choices are available.” The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Amazon is the second-largest private employer in the United States, employing hundreds of thousands of warehousing and logistics workers. Walmart Inc, the world’s largest retailer, announced this week that it was cutting COVID-19 paid leave in accordance with current CDC advice.

According to the corporation, the reduction in paid leave conforms to the new reduced isolation period suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We have consistently predicated our response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic on instructions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the opinion of our own medical experts over the past two years,” Amazon wrote in a note seen by CNN Business.

Prior to this week’s shift, Amazon granted Covid-positive employees 10 days of paid sick time, as recommended by the CDC. Last year, some Amazon employees who attempted to take Covid-19 leave experienced financial issues. Amazon CEO Andy Jassy admitted in October 2021 that the procedure “didn’t work the way we expected it to work” since the business didn’t anticipate a pandemic or a surge in demand for online orders.

The recent spike of Omicron variant instances has affected commercial and economic activity in a variety of industries. Airlines cited personnel infected with Covid-19 as the reason for another 1,600 flights being cancelled on Thursday. This month, Macy’s is reducing its weekday hours.

The CDC said on Tuesday that those who have Covid-19 can isolate for five days if they don’t exhibit any symptoms. According to Amazon, all employees must report a positive diagnosis, and those who are still sick after one week have extra leave alternatives.

Walmart announced earlier this week that pandemic-related paid absence would be reduced to a single week. In the United States, Walmart and Amazon are the two largest private employers.

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