Amazon cuts paid Covid leave for workers as CDC guidance shifts

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Amazon is reducing paid time off for U.S. frontline workers who test positive for Covid-19 or must self-quarantine after exposure to the virus.

All U.S.-based Amazon workers who test positive for Covid-19 and those to be quarantined will now be entitled to a week, or up to 40 hours, of paid leave, according to a notice from the company sent to employees, which was consulted by CNBC.

An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the policy change.

The e-commerce giant initially offered up to two weeks’ salary to any employee diagnosed with Covid-19 or placed in quarantine, but shortened paid leave to 10 days, in line with earlier guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of United States.

The company said it was adjusting its policy after “reviewing recently released guidelines” from the CDC, which cut isolation requirements for asymptomatic people in half to five days. The updated recommendations also reduced the time it takes to quarantine close contacts.

The move mirrors that of Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, which said on Wednesday it would cut paid vacation time related to the pandemic in half.

Amazon and other companies’ approaches to the virus have changed several times as the pandemic lingered and new variants emerge. Amazon recently reinstated its mandate to mask all American workers, regardless of vaccination status, due to the highly contagious variant of omicron.

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