Major companies updating sick leave policies in response to coronavirus
Several major companies operating in the U.S. have updated their sick leave policies to prevent coronavirus from spreading.
Companies like Walmart, McDonald’s, Darden Restaurants, which manages restaurants like Olive Garden, Apple, Instacart, Uber and Lyft have taken action to provide its employees with paid sick leave to allow those who feel ill to stay home.
Across the country, some employees have voiced concerns about not being able to afford taking time off without pay, prompting worries that workers who unknowingly have coronavirus would continue to work in public and spread the virus.
A Kentucky Walmart employee tested positive for the virus, which led the company to announce it would not penalize workers for having the virus and being quarantined. Employees in mandatory isolation can receive up to two weeks of sick pay, matching the government recommended quarantine time period.
Those with a confirmed case can receive “additional pay replacement” for up to 26 weeks, according to a release Walmart sent to employees Tuesday.
The fast-food chain McDonald’s approved of employees’ request to be paid if they are in quarantine for up to 14 days, USA Today reported.
Darden Restaurants announced that its employees would receive “permanent, paid sick leave benefits” starting Monday night, after facing criticism for its leave policy on Twitter.
The company provided up to 40 hours of paid sick leave annually to all hourly workers. Officials had been considering the move, but it was accelerated as coronavirus spreads, according to a spokesman from the company.
We are proud to announce that all Olive Garden’s hourly employees are receiving permanent, paid sick leave benefits, effective today.
— Olive Garden (@olivegarden) March 9, 2020
The tech giant Apple said this week that employees, including hourly workers, will receive unlimited paid leave if they develop symptoms similar to the coronavirus, The Washington Post reported.
Apple also encouraged its corporate workers to work from home as one of the employees at Apple’s European headquarters in Dublin has tested positive and has been quarantined. Some other employees have been asked to stay home, according to the Post.
Instacart, the app-based grocery delivery service, decided to provide its employees with up to 14 days of paid leave for those diagnosed with coronavirus or put in mandatory quarantine by officials. In-store shoppers who don’t deliver can get one hour of sick pay for every 30 hours they work.
“To the best of our knowledge, no one in our community has contracted COVID-19, but we believe this is the right thing to do for our employees and shoppers,” the company said in a post.
The ridesharing apps Uber and Lyft revealed their plans to contain coronavirus and help their employees over the weekend. With Uber, drivers diagnosed or affected by quarantines can receive up to 14 days of paid leave. Lyft announced it will “provide funds to drivers” who become sick or are put in isolation because of the virus.
The policy changes come as Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceTrump to launch ‘Catholics for Trump’ coalition in Wisconsin next week Pence says he and Trump will continue to shake hands despite coronavirus GOP senators tell Trump to make Fauci face of government’s coronavirus response MORE said Monday that an economic package would be proposed to give paid sick leave to employees affected by COVID-19, but did not provide specific details on the plan.