From October, Starbucks will stop paying absences for COVID-19 in the US.

Starbucks clarified that the new policies on COVID-19 will have to go through a negotiation stage in the unionized stores in the US.

Photo: SAUL LOEB/Getty Images

The American giant Starbucks reported that as of October 2 will stop issuing sick leave payments for those employees who contract COVID-19describing the pandemic as a change to “the endemic phase”.

The COVID-19 program began in 2020, when the retailer told its employees that could receive up to two weeks of “catastrophe” pay if they were diagnosed with or exposed to the disease and needed to self-isolate.

Now workers at the company’s nearly 9,000 locations they will no longer have benefits to provide additional days if they contract the disease.

After the due date, employees will need to take advantage of their sick and vacation pay if they must self-isolate due to COVID-19. According to current CDC guidelines, people who get the virus should stay home and self-isolate for at least five days.

The coffee chain said it will also end its payment for vaccines and secondary effects from October 2, benefits that were granted up to 2 hours of paid time off for workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccineas well as up to 4 hours of paid time off if the vaccines resulted in side effects.

In its statement, Starbucks noted that changes to benefits or wages “cannot be unilaterally implemented in stores with ongoing union organizing, they will be subject to collective bargaining for stores with certified union representation.”

The Starbucks announcement comes a day after President Joe Biden said in an interview with CBSNews that the pandemic was “over” in the United States. Even so, deaths from COVID-19 still have an average of about 400 per day across the country.

Meanwhile, Starbucks said last week that it plans to launch a new “generous sick time accrual model” soon. But it is possible that this new policy do not spread to the approximately 230 Starbucks locations who have unionized.

Starbucks’ treatment of unionized workers has drawn pushback from government regulators and the National Labor Relations Board, who say the company illegally withheld the wages and benefits of thousands of organized workers.

In recent days, Starbucks also announced that it would implement a radical plan in its US branches to encourage the growth of the company in the next three yearswith an investment of $450 million dollars, a strategy that includes everything from new equipment to the implementation of digital rewards.

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