As many of you already know, the COVID-19 situation in India is serious. Daily cases continue to rise and there is a severe shortage of hospital beds, ventilators, and oxygen supply. There are many difficult stories and at the same time inspiring acts of ownership and kindness – the situation is incredibly challenging to say the least.
At Amazon, different teams have been working tirelessly to best support employees within India and the community while we all navigate through the continuing challenges of this pandemic. For our employees, we continue to look for ways to help including creating a bank of oxygen concentrators, oximeters, and other supplies that can be used by employees in need.
We have also launched an initiative where employees who have fully recovered from COVID-19 can volunteer to donate blood plasma and help other Amazonians and their loved ones. Amazonians have volunteered to create COVID Warriors groups in cities to coordinate response for those in critical need. There are Indians in the U.S. and around the world who are reaching out for help as they are unable to take care of their family in India. We are discussing how we can scale our COVID support team to help with critical supplies.
Some of the other ways we’re supporting our employees:
- ·We are working on making COVID-19 tests easily accessible to all employees and are focused on getting employees vaccinated (as available) when broad eligibility opens up on May 1.
- We have made hotel rooms available for employees and their dependents who have mild COVID-19 symptoms and do not need intensive care for quarantine.
- Based on a patients’ condition and unavailability of hospital beds, we are using the insurance support to help set up ICU/ventilator at home for COVID-19 treatment.
- Employees have a dedicated help-line for hospital search assistance, ambulance assistance, plasma donor search, and oxygen search.
- We have temporarily enhanced medical insurance to cover urgent COVID-related medical expenses beyond hospital care, including COVID-19 vaccination.
- The Amazon Relief Fund (ARF) introduced in April 2020 in India can be utilized by qualifying individuals who have been quarantined or diagnosed with COVID-19, including all eligible delivery associates who are part of the Delivery Service Partner Program, Amazon Flex program, and its trucking partners providing transportation support.
- In the interim, we have also expanded India’s sick leave policy to cover leave for caregivers. With this, employees will be able to utilize existing sick leave to care for their immediate family members.
- We have temporarily extended financial support by enabling our employees to access a salary advance which can support them in dealing with immediate financial needs.
- Associates working in Amazon buildings directly or through staffing agencies will receive 2 weeks of paid leave over and above their available leave balance if tested positive for COVID-19. Our partner teams and associates in the Delivery Service Partner program, Flex and I Have Space are also covered under insurance.
Safety of our customers and teams continues to be our top most priority. We continue to follow stringent safety protocols such as use of face covering, regular hand sanitization, social distancing with innovative technology in our buildings and contactless deliveries among 100 other process changes we have made in our operations since the beginning of the pandemic.
We are supporting our selling partners with vaccination, and working with them to safely serve customers while then can manage the financial burden of the lockdowns.
We realize we can use our global scale to help our communities in India and are working closely with the relevant authorities and with U.S. organizations to extend logistics focused on vaccination, and sourcing/transporting critical supplies. We donated and airlifted 100 ventilator units as well as 10,000 oxygen concentrators and BiPAP machines into India. This includes the 1,500 oxygen concentrators and other critical medical equipment donated to hospitals and medical facilities through our Amazon in the Community and Global Mile teams.
We will continue to monitor the situation very closely.
Thank you to all of the hard-working Amazonians around the world who are supporting our communities and employees. Hopefully, we will be on the other side of this soon.