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Walmart, Lyft and Uber expand sick leave policies amid coronavirus outbreak

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Posted at 12:39 PM, Mar 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-11 12:39:38-04

A number of companies changed policies and say they plan to offer employees paid sick leave to those sickened or quarantined amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

According to the Washington Post, more than 30 million workers in the U.S. lack access to sick pay, giving them few options to pay bills should they be forced to take time off work if contracting the disease.

But this week, companies like McDonald's, Uber and Walmart have announced that they have changed their sick-leave policies in order to prevent the spread of the disease and to support employees that become sick.

On Monday, Vice President Mike Pence floated that the Trump administration may soon introduce a stimulus package that would include paid sick leave for some employees, but did not go into specifics.

Here's how different companies plan on handling sick leave amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Darden Restaurants

The parent company of LongHorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden and Yard House restaurants said it would begin offering employees a maximum of 40 hours of paid sick leave a year to all employees.

Employees will earn one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours they work. Current employees will receive sick leave for the time they've worked in the past six months.

According to The Washington Post, Darden will be one of the first restaurant chains to offer sick leave to employees.

Instacart

According to The Washington Post, the grocery delivery service will offer 14 days of paid leave for employees or contractors diagnosed with the coronavirus or placed under quarantine.

In-store shoppers, who pick groceries but do not deliver them, will earn one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked.

Lyft

According to The Washington Post, Lyft will "provide funds to the driver" who contract the coronavirus but did not provide details.

McDonald's

According to USA Today, the fast-food chain said Tuesday that it would offer two weeks paid leave to employees at corporate-owned franchises and restaurants. Sick leave policies vary at restaurants owned by individual franchisees.

Walmart

In a statement on Tuesday, Walmart shared a new policy that expands paid sick leave for employees.

The company will now grant two weeks of paid sick leave to employees of stores that are part of mandated quarantine, or to employees that live in areas that are quarantined by the government.

Employees that contract the virus will receive two weeks of sick leave. Anyone who is not ready to return after two weeks will get up to 26 weeks of pay replacement.

The company is also waiving its attendance policy through the end of April. Employees will not be punished for taking time off work as long as they call in ahead of time.

The new policy applies to all Walmart, Sam's Club and distribution center employees.

Uber

According to CNN, Uber announced Saturday that it would offer drivers who are diagnosed with the coronavirus or are quarantined will receive two weeks of paid sick leave. Because Uber drivers are paid by the trip, it's not clear how much money drivers will receive during their leave.

The announcement is a striking shift for the company, which often does not offer benefits to its drivers, because they consider them contractors and not full-time employees.