Amazon, the second largest employer in the U.S., announced today that it will halve its paid leave policy for workers who are forced into quarantine. The policy, established in March 2020, previously predicted until 14 days paid leave; the new policy covers one week, or up to 40 hours.
“Over the past two years, we have consistently based our response to the COVID-19 pandemic in development on the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the advice of our medical experts,” the notice to workers said. It further states that the 40-hour or one-week paid leave policy takes effect “immediately” and “applies to all employees in the United States, regardless of vaccination status.”
The change is a reflection of the CDC’s updated – and generally unpopular – insulation instructions, which he announced on December 27, as well as the decision of Walmart, the largest American employer, yes reduce their own paid sick leave policy in the event of last Wednesday’s pandemic. Understandably, other companies are likely to follow suit.
Amazon recently returned its mask politics for on-site workers. That requirement, along with mandatory temperature checks, was introduced at about the same time as the original two-week leave policy last year, and then lifted in May for fully vaccinated workers.
Although Amazon has often been criticized for its uniquely poor treatment of its staff, in this case it only follows federal guidelines and looks after its financial interests above all other priorities. Instead, what constitutes an erosion of paid leave policy for the country’s two largest employers is the abolition of benefits and protections that many of us have relied on to persevere through this ongoing pandemic.
Earlier this week, the expiration of the White House deal with retailers ordering COVID tests to be sold at home for an affordable $ 14 led, predictably, to the same tests almost doubling at the price of Walmart and Kroger. Some policies, such as pandemic unemployment benefits, have already completed, while key safeguards, such as the New York moratorium on evictions, are envisaged expires soon. Meanwhile, the US is still experiencing record numbers positive cases.
Amazon is right that the CDC has changed what it believes is the required length of isolation for people who have tested positive. But that negates the fact that Amazon and Walmart, not so long ago, offered risk payments to workers for fully facing the same risks that currently exist in their workplaces. By the way, such policies were he returned quickly also.
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