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AG Nessel calls on Amazon, Whole Foods to provide employees paid leave

Widespread outages reported for Amazon
Posted at 9:44 AM, Mar 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 12:48:06-04

(WXYZ) — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel joined other attorneys general in calling on Amazon and Whole Foods to provide paid sick and family leave to their employees during the COVID-19 emergency.

“Federal law provides certain guidelines for paid leave, and employers have an obligation to abide by those rules,” Nessel said. “Moreover, considering grocery stores are one of the places being frequented by consumers, extra precautions should be taken into account.”

In a letter, the attorneys general say the recent offer from the companies to provide two weeks of paid leave to employees diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed in quarantine is less than what the Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires.

The act was enacted by Congress on March 19 to ensure paid leave for workers.

Under the Families First Act, employers with fewer than 500 employees must provide two weeks of fully paid time off to full- and part-time workers to self-quarantine, seek preventative care or receive treatment for COVID-19; two weeks paid time off at two-thirds their regular pay for full- and part-time workers to care for family members; and 12 weeks of job-protected leave at no less than two-thirds of their usual rate of pay to take care of children if their school or daycare closes.

The attorneys general urge Amazon and Whole Foods to adopt the requirements in the Families First Act for smaller employers and additionally to provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave for workers who must stay at home to care for children due to school closures or for themselves and family members if diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined.

They also ask Amazon not to overlook their delivery drivers who are classified as independent contractors and to provide additional money to their Emergency Fund for those workers, so that they also receive comparable benefits as their other employees.

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