Amazon ends its PTO policy for employees with COVID-19

Amazon will no longer grant up to seven days of paid leave (PTO) to employees who are sick with COVID-19, the company announced in an internal memo obtained by The edge (via CNBC). Starting Monday, Amazon will offer up to five days of unpaid, exempt leave, with the ability for employees to use the paid sick time they’ve accrued.

Amazon initially offered 14 days of PTO at the start of the pandemic, but later shelved this policy for a week in accordance with updated guidelines from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The company now says that employees with ‘confirmed’ cases of COVID-19 can request paid leave under its ‘standard sick leave policy’, regardless of vaccination status. It will also stop apologizing to employees while waiting for their COVID-19 test results, citing the wide availability of rapid tests.

Amazon is also updating some of its other COVID-19 policies. It will stop the vaccine incentive program that paid employees $40 for every COVID-19 vaccine dose they received, and will no longer notify entire workplaces of positive COVID-19 cases “unless required by law.” Amazon has continued to adjust its policies over the course of the pandemic, ending mask requirements for both vaccinated and unvaccinated warehouse workers in February.

“The ongoing easing of the pandemic, continued availability of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, and updated guidance from public health authorities are all signs that we can continue to safely adapt to our pre-COVID policies,” it reads. message from Amazon. “We are closely monitoring the circumstances and will continue to adjust our response as necessary.”

Amazon announced its updated policy just a day after the LDJ5 Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, New York, ended the union election. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will start counting those votes Monday, and if the warehouse votes to unionize, it will become the second Amazon warehouse to do so. Last month, a nearby warehouse on Staten Island voted to unionize with the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) in a historic workers’ victory.

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