As Amazon, Walmart Cut Covid Sick Days, Paid Leave Push Revives – Bloomberg Law – Amazon News

Curated by WorkingFromHome

This article is an excerpt from the original article found in the Read More link – please follow for full article.

Calls for restoring a national policy on Covid-19 paid sick leave are growing as omicron variant cases surge and major U.S. employers, including Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc., reduce the paid sick days employees can take for quarantine.

Supporters of a federal paid leave mandate say the latest wave of the pandemic highlights the need for Congress to guarantee all workers have access to paid sick time during the contagion—regardless of whether the omicron wave proves to be short-lived or has more staying power than the previous delta variant.

But business groups instead are ready to scale back the coronavirus-related leave that many major employers have offered since 2020, and there’s no indication of significant support in Congress for passing further widespread Covid-19 relief legislation.

“We have to get this under control and use every tool that we have,” said Vicki Shabo, senior fellow focused on paid leave policy at the New America think tank. Those tools include masks, testing, and vaccines, she said, adding “a public investment in a common-sense measure like paid sick time is equally important.”

Major employers—including the nation’s largest, Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart—have said they would cut back the number of paid days off their employees can take for Covid-19 quarantine or isolation. The moves were inspired partly by new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that reduces to five days in many cases the length of quarantine recommended after exposure to the virus or a positive test.

Seattle-based Amazon, for example, cited the CDC guidance when switching to offering 40 hours of paid leave for employees who need to isolate or quarantine, versus its previous Covid-19 policy of 80 hours, according to a copy of a company memo that spokesman Richard Rocha shared.

The company is working routinely with public health authorities to update its employee safety efforts and has hosted more than 1,800 free vaccination clinics to encourage its employees to get immunized, he said.

In several cases, employers are cutting the paid time off available only for employees who test positive but are asymptomatic, since the CDC says those people only need a five-day quarantine instead of the previous 10-day recommendation, said Ani Huang, president and CEO of the Center On Executive Compensation and senior vice president of the HR Policy Association.

“Companies are not saying you come back in five days whether you’re sick or not,” she said. For employees at the nation’s largest corporations—which make up her association’s membership—paid sick leave or other paid leave is often available, and in some instances Covid-specific leave beyond five days for those who have symptoms.

Congressional Inaction

Congress initially required many employers to provide pandemic-related paid leave in its March 2020 relief legislation, but since then has rejected calls to restore the mandate. A divided Congress in December 2020 let the measure expire and opted instead to extend tax credits only for employers that voluntarily provide the leave. Even after Democrats gained control of half the Senate and the White House, the relief legislation they passed in March 2021 only renewed the tax credits with no mandate. Congress then let the tax credits expire in September 2021 without a serious effort to renew those.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said additional coronavirus relief could be included in a fiscal year 2022 funding package being negotiated. Whether that would include additional appropriations for pandemic-related paid leave is unclear, and an agreement on a funding deal has failed to coalesce as a Feb. 18 deadline looms.

Ohio Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown pointed to the American Rescue Plan Act, passed in early 2021, as one way Congress delivered pandemic relief to workers, and said he hopes to keep paid leave in the Build Back Better Act.

“Nearly two years into this pandemic, employers should be implementing changes to give workers the flexibility, paid time, and support they need to keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe,” he said in an email. But President Joe Biden has struggled to assemble the majority needed for Senate passage of the tax and social spending plan.

Business groups have complained for nearly a year of the difficulty in finding enough workers amid what some have called “The Great Resignation,” even as the economy has rebounded from the widespread shutdowns of 2020—a factor that plays into their eagerness to reduce the amount of virus-related leave they grant.

The omicron variant also is thought to have a shorter incubation period and cause milder disease than previous variants among people who are fully vaccinated, executives and a medical adviser for Delta Air Lines argued in a December letter urging the CDC to shorten its recommended quarantine period.

“With the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, the 10-day isolation for those who are fully vaccinated may significantly impact our workforce and operations. Similar to healthcare, police, fire, and public transportation workforces, the Omicron surge may exacerbate shortages and create significant disruptions,” the Delta team wrote.

As for the possibility of new action in Congress to require or encourage paid Covid leave, Huang said she hasn’t heard from large employers about their position on the idea.

“I think maybe that’s because it hasn’t taken hold or taken shape in terms of what that might look like,” she said.

‘A Major Gap’

But the shortened quarantine period ignores the fact the virus often spreads within families, meaning a parent might need one week off for themselves and the following week to tend to a child who’s tested positive, said Jared Make, vice president at the advocacy group A Better Balance.

Beyond that, millions of workers have no paid sick time at work—pandemic or not.

“This country has a major gap in our response because of the absence of a right to paid sick leave,” Make said.

Like the federal paid leave mandate, many state and local laws requiring pandemic-specific paid sick time have expired, with a few exceptions such as Colorado and Massachusetts where Covid-19 sick leave requirements remain.

The resurgence of the virus over the last month has also renewed interest among state and local lawmakers, said Make, who added he’s hearing from legislators who want information on crafting their own Covid-19 sick leave proposals.

Most notably, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has called for restoring his state’s Covid-19 sick leave requirement as part of his annual budget plan. The previous statewide emergency sick leave law expired in September.

As one option, state and local governments have authority to use the $350 billion in direct cash aid received through the federal American Rescue Plan to create or support paid sick, medical, or family leave programs, according to a final Treasury Department rule issued Jan. 6 that governs use of the funds.

For the Full Article
You can Find it Here: As Amazon, Walmart Cut Covid Sick Days, Paid Leave Push Revives – Bloomberg Law

Commentary:
Really handy news and links can be seen on this complete post.

You May Also Like…

Amazon acquires the rights to My Favorite Murder – The Verge  – Amazon News

Amazon acquires the rights to My Favorite Murder – The Verge – Amazon News

Hello, hello. I’m back! Welcome to the week from sunny Los Angeles. My trip through California had me disconnecting from the internet, spotting Michael Keaton at a Santa Barbara restaurant inside a furniture store, and, naturally, ending up in multiple conversations about Joe Rogan. Just the R&R I needed :~). Anyway, I’m happy to be back with you and the podcast news. Let’s get into it. Hot Pod Summit is returning on February 24th to start On Air Fest. Hot Pod Summit is the invite-only industry conference for the people building the future of the audio industry. It will kick off On Air Fest, the audio industry’s premier cultural festival, featuring Jad Abumrad, Chuck D, Dr. Jane Goodall, and more. Buy your tickets here. If you’re interested in applying for an invitation to the Summit, please let us know by filling out our lottery form here. You can also indicate…

Amazon endorses GOP bill that would legalize marijuana on federal level – New York Post  – Amazon News

Amazon endorses GOP bill that would legalize marijuana on federal level – New York Post – Amazon News

Amazon has endorsed a Republican-backed bill in Congress on Tuesday that would legalize marijuana on a federal level, leaving states to decide whether to prohibit or regulate it.  Rep. Nancy Mace’s (R-SC) States Reform Act would remove cannabis as a federal Schedule I substance and introduce a new 3% federal tax on the substance.  Revenue from the tax would be routed help fund law enforcement and veterans’ health programs — and cannabis would remain illegal nationwide for anyone under 21 except for medical marijuana patients. “Every state is different and every state should be able to dictate their cannabis laws,” Mace told The Post in an interview. “This bill would get the federal government out of the way.” In a tweet on Tuesday, Amazon’s public policy arm said it was “pleased to endorse” Mace’s proposal.  “Like so many in this country, we believe it’s time to reform the nation’s cannabis policy…

Working From Home TV …

Tips to enhance your own website…

How to Create a Giveaway to Grow Your Email List by 150% – Website Tips

How to Create a Giveaway to Grow Your Email List by 150% – Website Tips

Do you want to start a giveaway and get more email subscribers? Giveaways are one of the fastest ways to grow your email list, increase traffic, and boost sales. They help you reach new audiences and boost user engagement on your website. In this article, we’ll show you how to use a giveaway to grow your email list faster. Why Use a Giveaway to Grow Your Email List? Did you know that email marketing sees a 4300% return on investment (ROI) on average for businesses in the US? People who sign up for your emails are already interested in your products and services, making them highly likely to convert into paying customers. However, the hardest part is getting more people to join your email list. This is where running a contest or giveaway on your WordPress site comes in handy. It helps you grow your email list while getting more…

How to Track Video Analytics in WordPress (Step by Step) – Website Tips

How to Track Video Analytics in WordPress (Step by Step) – Website Tips

Do you want to know which videos your visitors watch the most on your WordPress website? Videos are a great way to bring life to your website and boost engagement. By tracking video analytics, you can see how your videos are performing with metrics like total views, watch duration, and more. In this article, we’ll show you how to track video analytics in WordPress using Google Analytics. This solution works for YouTube, Vimeo, and other HTML5 video embeds. Why Track Video Engagement in WordPress? Adding videos to your content makes your articles more engaging and helps in getting people to spend more time on your site. However, if you have multiple videos on your WordPress site, then how do you which type of content is performing the best and whether people are watching your videos or not? Tracking video engagement in Google Analytics can help you uncover these insights. You…

How to Easily Create a Custom WordPress Theme (Without Any Code) – Website Tips

How to Easily Create a Custom WordPress Theme (Without Any Code) – Website Tips

Do you want to create a custom WordPress theme from scratch? In the past, you had to follow complicated WordPress tutorials and have decent coding knowledge to build a custom WordPress theme. But thanks to new WordPress theme builders, now you can easily make one without learning any programming skills. In this article, we’ll show you how to easily create a custom WordPress theme without writing any code. Here is the list of topics we’ll cover in this article. Creating a Custom WordPress Theme for BeginnersCreating a Custom Theme with SeedProd Theme BuilderEditing a Theme with SeedProd Theme BuilderChanging the Site-Wide Design for Your ThemeApplying and Publishing Your Custom WordPress ThemeCreating Other Layouts for Your Custom WordPress ThemeReady? Let’s get started. Video Tutorial Subscribe to WPBeginner If you’d prefer written instructions, just keep reading. Creating a Custom WordPress Theme for Beginners A WordPress website uses a theme for website layout…

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.