Logo of Amazon illustrated with a black and orange background
Source: The Verge

Amazon workers to no more get paid for Covid-19 leave
From this Monday, the company will cut paid time off for workers who test positive for the virus

A worker at Amazon working following protocols for Covid
Amazon workers will not get paid time off after testing positive for Covid anymore.
Source: The New York Times

This week, Amazon.com Inc specified that it is doing away with paid time off for front-line US workers testing positive for Covid, from Monday, 2nd May. From the specified date, all Amazon workers based in the US would not get a paid leave if they test positive for the coronavirus. Instead, they would now get a maximum of five days off, that too in the form of an unpaid leave. The retail agent informed all the workers in a notice that was sent on Saturday, April 30.

Moreover, a spokesperson from the company informed authorities that workers could still make use of their sick time off if required. In the notice circulated on Saturday, the retail giant also stated that employees awaiting Covid test results would no further get time off. This was probably because rapid tests are currently available almost everywhere.

For a while now, the company has been on the process of gradually pulling back its pandemic policies as the availability of vaccines are becoming rather easier. Moreover, even the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention also altered their guidance regarding Covid protocols.

“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.

Initially, the e-commerce company had the provision of a maximum of two weeks of paid time off for any of the workers testing positive for Covid. Moreover, this offer was also applicable if anyone was placed into quarantine owing to previous protocols. From January 2022, Amazon.com Inc lowered the paid leave period to one week, or to a maximum of 40 hours.

Owing to this new rule coming into effect, the retail giant would halt sending notifications through the site, of positive cases in the facilities in particular . However, they might have to break this practice in case the law requires them to do so. Moreover, they specified Amazon will also stop incentivising vaccination efforts from now on. They stated that they were set to make these adjustments to switch to their policies from pre-Covid times.

People are expecting these developments to generate significant backlash from the pro-union workers, who ate arguing for improved work conditions and warehouse benefits. This step also comes just a day following an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island closing its union drive.