Coronavirus: Amazon Offers Staff Unlimited Sick Days

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Workers at Amazon can take unlimited sick days in March in an effort to try and stem the Coronavirus pandemic around the world

Amazon workers will be able to take unlimited sick days in March, in the latest tech response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

However the BBC reported that only Amazon workers in quarantine for the Covid-19 virus will be entitled to extra sick pay.

Earlier this week Google ordered all of its Northern American staff to work from home. Last week for example, Microsoft asked its staff in the Seattle region near its headquarters and the San Francisco Bay Area to work from home for most of this month.

Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

Sick pay

Google has already confirmed it would give its hourly workers their regular pay if they had to miss work due to coronavirus.

But the BBC reported that many US warehouse workers are entitled to only 10 days’ leave a year – for all holidays, sickness and emergencies.

Some had asked Amazon to change its policy to stop coronavirus spreading.

Some workers also say they are being told increase their hours, known as mandatory extra time, because of increased demand and staff shortages.

“The health and safety of our employees and contractors around the world continues to be our top priority as we face the challenges associated with Covid-19,” Amazon said in a blog.

“Effective immediately, all Amazon employees diagnosed with Covid-19 or placed into quarantine will receive up to two weeks of pay,” it said. “This additional pay while away from work is to ensure employees have the time they need to return to good health without the worry of lost pay.”

“This is in addition to unlimited unpaid time off for all hourly employees through the end of March.”

Pandemic virus

Amazon also said it has established a $25m (£19.6m) fund to support independent delivery service partners and their drivers, Amazon Flex participants and seasonal employees “under financial distress”.

Amazon responses comes after the World Health Organisation earlier this week declared the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) a pandemic (it has previously been classified as an outbreak).

There has been 5,080 deaths attributed to the virus, with 138,152 cases worldwide as of Friday 13 March 2020.

It has also just been reported that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in isolation after his wife Sophie tested positive for the virus.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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