Some Amazon employees will be able to work from home until the middle of next year.
The e-commerce behemoth announced today that it would allow associates to work remotely through June as the COVID-19 health crisis persists in the United States. It previously said that workers could remain home until early 2021.
“The health and safety of our employees is our top priority, and it will be some time before things return to normal,” it announced in an update on its Day One blog. “Accordingly, work that can effectively be done from home can continue to be done from home through June 30, 2021.”
The Seattle-based retailer isn’t the only tech player to announce an extension of the work-from-home option for employees: Early this month, Microsoft said that it would permit most employees to work remotely for less than 50% of their working week or get their managers to approve permanent remote work as part of its move toward a “hybrid workplace.”
That model — a blend of both remote and in-office methods of working — was also championed by Google parent Alphabet, which previously shared that it would let its employees work from home until at least next July. Similarly, Twitter and Facebook have allowed employees who are able to work remotely to do so indefinitely.
Amazon’s move comes less than three weeks after it reported that 19,816 workers across its labor force have either tested positive or been presumed positive for COVID-19, which has sickened more than 8.27 million people in the U.S. alone. (The company explained that it conducted a “thorough analysis of data” on all of its 1,372,000 U.S.-based Amazon and Whole Foods Market front-line workers who were employed at any time from March 1 to Sept. 19.)
According to Amazon, employees are regularly screened for symptoms and are “increasingly being tested” at work, regardless of whether they are showing symptoms. “We’re investing hundreds of millions of dollars in this initiative, but testing is just one of the things we’re doing to keep our front-line employees safe,” the retailer added. Early this month, it said that it had distributed more than 100 million face masks, implemented temperature checks at its locations, mandated enhanced cleaning procedures and introduced extensive social distancing measures to help reduce its employees’ risk of contracting the virus.