Amazon has changed its PTO policy for quarantined workers, as reported by CNBC and Wall Street Journal. The policy has shrunk to one week (or 40 hours) off, down from the original 14-day duration, which is still mentioned on an Amazon hiring page (via Engadget), but had already been shortened to ten days. EngadgetThe report includes an excerpt from Amazon’s notice to employees of the change, citing the CDC’s updated recommendations that people who have tested positive for COVID should isolate themselves for five days, as long as their symptoms are gone.
Amazon is not alone in changing its policy with the federal government. As Engadget points out, Walmart has also cut the number of PTO hours employees receive COVID. There have also been reports of sick workers across the country who have lost protection after the US rescue plan expired on September 30, allowing state and local governments (and individual employers) to decide the rules themselves.
The CDC’s new guide, published in late December, reduced the recommended isolation period from ten days to five. Public health experts have said that it is supported by research, but some have expressed concern that employees who are still ill will be brought back to work. According to a copy of Amazon’s revised policy set by The Verge, there are “additional leave options available for people who remain symptomatic beyond a week.”
For some employees, their financial situation can force them back to work if they are not paid to stay at home, regardless of the company’s guidelines for being on sick leave.
Amazon does not have a single directive for how office workers should return to personal work, but instead chooses to let individual teams decide how much of their work should be external. Of course, this is not 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 reintroduced its masking mandate for warehouse workers in December after repealing it in November.
Amazon did not respond immediately The Vergehis request for comment.