Amazon has changed its PTO policy for quarantined employees, as reported by CNBC and the Wall Street Journal. The policy has shrunk to a week (or 40 hours) off, less than the initial 14-day duration, which is still listed on an Amazon recruiting page (via Engadget) but had already been shortened to ten days. EngadgetThe report excerpts from Amazon’s notification to employees about the change, citing the CDC’s updated recommendations that people who have tested positive for COVID should isolate for five days as long as their symptoms have resolved.
Amazon is not alone in changing its policy along with the federal government. if Engadget points out that Walmart has also reduced the number of PTO hours that employees with a COVID contract get. There have also been reports of sick workers across the country losing their protection after the US bailout expired on September 30, leaving state and local governments (and individual employers) to set the rules for themselves.
The CDC’s new guideline, published in late December, cut the recommended isolation time from ten days to five. Public health experts have said it’s backed by research, but some have expressed concern that workers who are still sick will be returned to work. According to a copy of Amazon’s revised policy, seen by: The edge, there are “additional leave options available for individuals who remain symptomatic for more than a week.”
For some workers, their economic situation may force a return to work if they are not paid to stay at home, regardless of company policy on getting sick.
Amazon doesn’t have a single guideline for how its office workers will return to in-person work, opting instead to let individual teams decide how much of their work should be remote. Of course, this isn’t the case for jobs that need to be personal, such as Amazon warehouse workers, delivery drivers, IT staff working on AWS servers, and more. Amazon reinstated its warehouse worker mask mandate in December after lifting it in November.
Amazon did not immediately respond The edge‘s request for comment.