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Amazon Told Workers Paid Sick Leave Law Doesn’t Cover Warehouses

Amazon workers in southern California’s industrial heartland say the company’s policies are forcing sick employees to work and that warehouses are refusing to comply with a state paid sick leave law meant to prevent Covid-19 outbreaks. From a report: In the Inland Empire region outside Los Angeles, Amazon workers told the Guardian they fear losing their jobs if they are ill and stay home. At least four Amazon warehouses in the region have recorded Covid-19 cases. On 1 May, Amazon ended a policy allowing unlimited unpaid time off, a measure adopted at the start of the coronavirus crisis that allowed workers to take time off for any reason. They would forgo wages, but if they were concerned about their safety or had new childcare responsibilities due to lockdowns, they could stay home without losing their jobs. Without the policy, workers say they could now be fired if they miss shifts. They worry the reversal will result in sick and vulnerable people showing up for shifts because they can’t risk termination. The health concerns are particularly serious in the Inland Empire, which has some of the worst air quality in the US and disproportionately high rates of asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Employees also shared emails showing that Amazon has dismissed some paid sick leave requests by claiming a California law intended to provide supplemental sick leave during the pandemic does not apply to the warehouses.

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