Amazon Ends Paid COVID-19 Leave For Workers

Employees will now get up to five days of excused, unpaid time off.

Alexandra Garrett Associate Editor
Alexandra is an associate editor on CNET's Performance Optimization team. She graduated from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, and interned with CNET's Tech and News teams while in school. Prior to joining CNET full time, Alexandra was a breaking news fellow at Newsweek, where she covered current events and politics.
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Amazon employees will no longer receive paid time off if they test positive for COVID-19, according to a notice sent to workers Saturday, CNBC reports. Instead, the company is "returning to standard sick leave policies" and offering employees located in the US up to five excused days of unpaid sick leave. 

The policy, which goes into effect on Monday, also notes that workers waiting for results from a COVID test will not have time off excused since rapid tests are widely available. Amazon workers, however, "are still able to use their sick time if needed as well," an Amazon spokesperson told CNET. 

Amazon previously shortened its COVID-19 leave to a week, or up to 40 hours, from two weeks in January. 

Aside from sick leave, Amazon will stop incentivizing vaccination efforts and sending site-wide notifications of positive cases in its facilities, unless required by law. 

The return to standard company policies comes as employees push to unionize in some Amazon warehouses for better working conditions. Last month, workers in Staten Island, New York, voted to join the Amazon Labor Union.