Amazon ends COVID paid leave for US workers

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Giant online retailer will end its paid time-off policy for employees with COVID-19 from May 2, the company told US-based staff.

The change follows the availability of COVID-19 vaccines and revised guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it said.

The US-based staff will now get five days of excused, unpaid leave following a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, Amazon told workers in a message it provided to Reuters.

"We can continue to safely adjust to our pre-COVID policies," the company said, citing the sustained easing of the pandemic, the availability of vaccines and treatments, and updated public health guidance.

The changes come amid a stream of challenges for Amazon after a recent effort to unionise some warehouses. In April, workers at its warehouse in New York City voted to form the first union.

On Saturday, Amazon said it is halting site-wide notifications of positive cases in facilities, unless required by law, as well as efforts to encourage vaccination.

In January, Amazon trimmed paid leave for workers with the virus to one week, or up to 40 hours. Before that, they got two weeks of paid time off for COVID-19. 

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