A seven-day policy change for hundreds of thousands of US workers comes after the health agency halved its five-day guidance
The company said in its memo that it based its pandemic response decisions on CDC guidance and the advice of its own medical experts, but did not elaborate on why it opted for seven days instead of five. Company employees who are isolated have up to 40 hours of paid leave.
Amazon does not require workers to show negative COVID-19 tests before returning to work, matching protocol set by the CDC, which faced public pressure to add such a standard, but this week declined to add it to its guidance.
Amazon is the nation’s second largest private employer, which is closely watched by labor researchers and executives across the country. It employs about a million people in the US, most in its hundreds of warehouses.
Many companies have adopted the CDC’s abbreviated isolation guidance as COVID-19 cases rise across the country, driven in large part by the highly infectious Omron variant and impacting workforce levels across industries. So far, Amazon has indicated that it has not seen any major disruptions to its operations, although Covid-19 cases are expected to rise this month.
Amazon may have more flexibility than other employers, thanks to temporary workers added to meet higher demand during the holiday season, which recently ended. The company typically lays down its workforce around this time of year, and in the past it has offered some employees money to lay off in an effort to reduce their overall numbers.
The online retailer differs in that it employs both corporate technical staff and hourly warehouse workers. Its protocols have evolved as the virus threat shifted and health protocols changed for many Americans.
In December, Amazon again began requiring warehouse workers to wear masks regardless of vaccination status, rolling back a pre-Omicron policy that allowed vaccinated workers to go without masks. In its corporate offices, unvaccinated employees are required to wear masks. Amazon said in October that it would allow company directors to decide whether their teams need to work from the office, a departure from earlier guidance requiring all employees to work on-site at least three days a week. suggest.
Amazon has directed a range of resources to respond to the health crisis, but continues to face complaints from some employees that the conditions at its warehouses are unsafe, which the company denies. It was quick to send employees home and set up Covid-19 testing labs in their facilities.
Recently its focus has shifted to vaccines. The company has hosted on-site vaccination programs in states including Missouri, Nevada and Kansas, and said in October that it would spend $4 billion during the last three months of 2021 to limit disruptions to its package delivery network.
Write Sebastian Herrera [email protected] . Feather