200312 Amazon
A Starbucks coffee shop sits mostly empty at Amazon headquarters on March 10, 2020 in downtown Seattle, Washington. Image Credit: AFP

San Francisco: Amazon on Wednesday beefed up paid leave for workers quarantined due to the novel coronavirus or diagnosed with the COVID-19 illness.

The company also announced creation of an Amazon Relief Fund — starting at $25 million (Dh92 million) — to serve as a pool of grant money for independent delivery drivers, seasonal employees and others losing paychecks due to the pandemic, according to the global internet retailer.

“Effective immediately, all Amazon employees diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine will receive up to two-weeks of pay,” the firm said in an online post.

“This additional pay while away from work is to ensure employees have the time they need to return to good health without the worry of lost pay.”

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Amazon is already providing unlimited unpaid time off for all hourly employees through the end of this month.

The firm is based in Seattle, Washington, the state which has emerged as the US epicenter of the virus with 24 deaths there so far.

Amazon partners and seasonal workers will be able to apply for relief fund grants to cover two-weeks’ pay “if diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine by the government or Amazon,” according to the company.

“Additionally, this fund will support our employees and contractors around the world who face financial hardships from other qualifying events, such as a natural disaster, federally declared emergency, or unforeseen personal hardship.

Amazon has almost 800,000 full-time employees worldwide.

The company confirmed last week that one of its Seattle employees had been quarantined after testing positive for the new coronavirus.