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Amazon employees now only a week's COVID PTO

Amazon employees now only a week's COVID PTO

As CNBC and the Wall Street Journal report, Amazon has changed its PTO policy for workers forced to quarantine. The policy has been reduced to one week (or 40 hours), with an initial period of 14 days on the Amazon recruiting page (via Engage), but has already been shortened to ten days. Engadget's report includes an excerpt from Amazon's notice to employees about the change, citing updated CDC recommendations that people who have tested positive for COVID be quarantined for five days needed. They should be kept in isolation until their symptoms go away.

Amazon isn't alone in changing its policies with the federal government. As Engadget points out, Walmart has also cut the number of PTO hourly employees who contract COVID. There have also been reports of sick workers losing protections across the country after the US rescue plan ended on September 30, leaving state and local governments (and individual employers) to decide the rules for themselves.

New guidance from the CDC, released in late December, reduced the recommended isolation time from ten days to five. Public health experts have said it is backed by research, but some have expressed concern about workers who are still sick and being brought back to work. According to a copy of Amazon's revised policy seen by The Verge, "additional leave options are available for individuals who remain symptomatic for more than a week."

For some employees, regardless of company policy about getting sick, their economic situation may compel them to return to work if they are not paid to stay at home.

Amazon doesn't have a singular directive on how its office workers will return to work individually, instead allowing individual teams to decide how much of their work should be remote. This, of course, is not the case with in-person jobs, such as warehouse workers at Amazon, delivery drivers, IT workers working on AWS servers, and more. Amazon reinstated its mask mandate for warehouse workers in December after lifting it in November.

Amazon did not immediately respond to The Verge's request for comment.

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