Amazon ends furloughs and COVID-specific contact tracing

  • Amazon will no longer offer COVID-19-specific leave for operations employees, according to internal documents.
  • The company will also stop contact tracing and site-wide notifications about positive cases in warehouses.
  • Amazon previously offered two weeks of paid time off for COVID-19 cases.

Amazon will no longer offer COVID-19-specific leave for operations employees or conduct site-wide contact tracing and notifications of positive cases in most warehouses starting August 19, according to internal documents seen by Insider.

“Today, conditions at the state and local levels, including recently updated guidance from the CDC, support our ability to return to standard operations and policies,” states an internal FAQ shared with employees. “High levels of vaccine and infection-induced immunity and the availability of effective treatments and prevention tools have significantly reduced the risk of severe disease.”

The change could affect hundreds of thousands of workers. Amazon has more than 1.6 million employees, many of whom work in warehouses. Pandemic disruptions threw the company’s warehouse operations into chaos in 2020 and 2021, forcing Amazon to frantically hire more people.

Unless required by law, the company will revert to standard sick leave benefits. Previously, Amazon offered two weeks of paid leave for COVID-19. Amazon had no comment. The notification excludes California, New York, Colorado and Philadelphia.

Amazon is offering warehouse workers time off based on factors including “employee category, location, and seniority,” according to the FAQ, and though the document suggests employees stay home s they are sick, some employees will not have access to any sick leave. after this change. Employees can request accommodations for “personal medical circumstances,” the FAQ says.

“Except as otherwise required by federal, state, or local law, COVID-specific leave types will no longer be offered,” the document says. “Employees are able to self-manage their leave options and can use any combination of accrued time and/or statutory leave benefits to cover an absence.”

In a document announcing the change, Amazon said it chose to end notifications and contact tracing following governments’ decision to reduce or end their own COVID-19 notification programs.

Are you an Amazon employee or do you have ideas to share? Contact reporter Ashley Stewart via the encrypted messaging app Signal (+1-425-344-8242) or email ([email protected]).