Amazon ends paid COVID-19 leave policy for workers

The company also won't offer time off for testing.

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As of May 2nd, Amazon will no longer offer paid time off for workers who test positive for COVID-19, according to CNBC. Starting Monday, the company will instead grant frontline staff up to five days of unpaid leave, with the option for workers to use their accrued sick time if needed.

Announced in a memo the company sent out on Saturday, the new policy sees Amazon once again scaling back the protections it offers workers. At the start of the pandemic, the company gave workers up to 14 days of paid time off. In January, it cut COVID-19 leave in half.

Citing the wider availability of rapid testing, Amazon also said it would no longer grant workers excused time off while they wait for their COVID-19 test results. At the same time, the company will end its vaccine incentive program. The initiative saw Amazon pay workers $40 for every COVID-19 vaccine dose they went out to get. And unless required to do so by local law, the company says it will no longer notify entire sites of positive COVID-19 cases.

“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, according to CNBC.

Amazon’s updated COVID-19 policies will go into effect the same day we’ll find out if workers at the company’s LDJ5 warehouse in Staten Island voted to unionize. Like with nearby JFK8, the Amazon Labor Union, led by former employee Christian Smalls, hopes to represent the workers at the facility. Smalls gained international recognition when he led a walkout at JFK8 at the start of the pandemic to protest Amazon’s COVID-19 safety policies.