Amazon to offer sick pay to ill and quarantined hourly workers

by BLOOMBERG Inc. will offer sick leave to hourly workers quarantined or diagnosed with the disease caused by the coronavirus, in an effort to extend protections to the e-commerce company’s hundreds of thousands of logistics workers.

Employees diagnosed with Covid-19 or placed into isolation will be eligible for as much as two weeks of pay, Beth Galetti, Amazon’s human resources chief, said in a blog post on Wednesday. Much of Amazon’s corporate staff — at the company’s headquarters in Seattle, as well as in hubs like the San Francisco Bay Area, and New York City — has been given the option to work from home to limit the spread of the disease. Such benefits weren’t available for the hourly workers who staff Amazon’s warehouses, or the independent contractors who deliver packages.

Amazon’s hourly workers last week were told they could take unpaid time off through the end of March without penalty.

Galetti said the company would also set aside $25 million to support the independent contractors who deliver packages, including logistics companies and independent drivers, as well as employees who face financial hardship from the pandemic or other disasters. Amazon will set up a website “in the coming days” for employees and contractors to apply for personal grants of as much as $5,000.