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Amazon discontinues its paid time off policy for COVID-19-afflicted employees

Amazon initially provided 14 days of paid time off (PTO) at the beginning of the pandemic

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Amazon discontinues its paid time off policy for COVID-19-afflicted employees

Amazon has declared that it will no longer provide up to seven days of paid time off (PTO) to employees who are sick with COVID-19. Starting Monday (i.e. today), Amazon will provide up to five days of an unpaid, excused absence, with the opportunity to use accrued paid sick time, reports CNBC.

Amazon initially provided 14 days of paid time off (PTO) at the beginning of the pandemic, however, later reduced this policy by one week in accordance with the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) revised guidelines.

Workers with “confirmed” COVID-19 illnesses can now seek paid time off under the company’s “normal sick leave policy,” regardless of vaccination status. It would also discontinue providing workers with excused time off while waiting for COVID-19 test results, noting the widespread availability of Rapid Antigen tests (RAT).

In an attempt to alter some other COVID-19 regulations, Amazon is discontinuing its vaccination incentive program, which paid employees $40 for each COVID-19 vaccine booster they received. Moreover, the e-commerce giant would no longer tell whole workplaces of positive COVID-19 cases “unless mandated by law.”

Throughout the pandemic, Amazon has continued to make policy changes, and in February, it eliminated mask requirements for both vaccinated and unvaccinated warehouse employees.

“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. It added, “We are monitoring conditions closely and will continue to adjust our response as appropriate.”

Amazon’s statement comes only one day after the unionisation drive at an Amazon site on New York’s Staten Island came to an end, for which the National Labor Relations Board will begin counting ballots on May 2.

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