Another big private employer has cut COVID-19 paid leave for its workers in the United States following rule changes by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Amazon.com Inc., the second-largest U.S. private employer, said its COVID-19 paid leave has been reduced to a maximum of 40 hours in a Jan. 7 notification to employees. Before the announcement, the company’s COVID-19 paid leave for self-isolation was up to 10 days.
Quarantine periods for staff have also been adjusted in keeping with the new CDC guidelines.
“After reviewing the newly released guidance from the CDC, we are updating Amazon’s COVID-19 isolation and quarantine policy to one week (seven calendar days) from when you took the test, with up to 40 hours paid leave,” reads the notification, which was obtained by The Epoch Times. “This change is effective immediately and applies to all employees in the United States, regardless of vaccination status.”
However, the company said that additional leave options would be available if individuals are still symptomatic after one week.
Walmart Inc., the nation’s largest private employer, announced that it was shortening its COVID-19 paid leave to one week from two weeks on Jan. 4, days before Amazon.
Walmart said in a memo to its workers that it’s cutting paid leave in half for those who test positive for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus or who have quarantined themselves at home after exposure.
The retailer said the new leave regime would start from March 31.
Both companies’ decisions came after the CDC reduced its recommended days of isolation from 10 days to five days for Americans who contract COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status. The CDC also said that asymptomatic people should wear a mask for five days when around others after leaving isolation.
The agency also recommended five days of quarantine for those exposed to the virus who are unvaccinated or are over six months out from their second mRNA vaccine dose or more than two months out from their Johnson & Johnson vaccination and not yet boosted. The quarantine period should be followed by strict mask use for an additional five days.
Individuals who have received a booster shot don’t need to quarantine following exposure, but should wear a mask for 10 days, the CDC said.
“CDC’s updated recommendations for isolation and quarantine balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.
Reducing the CDC’s 10-day quarantine recommendation helps asymptomatic people return to work or school, with proper precautions, White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN last month.
Reuters contributed to the report.