Walmart, Apple, others revise paid sick leave in face of coronavirus

(AP) - Walmart is enacting an emergency leave policy for its 1.4 million hourly U.S. workers that allowing them to take time off without penalty if they fear the spread of a new virus.

FILE - In this Feb. 18, 2020 file photo, the logo for Walmart appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Walmart is launching an emergency leave policy for its 1.4 million hourly U.S. workers that includes allowing its employees to not be penalized for taking time off if they feel uncomfortable working because of fear of the spreading new virus. Walmart also says that hourly workers who work in a store, club, office or distribution center will receive up to two weeks pay if they are required to quarantine by the government or by the retailer.
FILE - In this Feb. 18, 2020 file photo, the logo for Walmart appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Walmart is launching an emergency leave policy for its 1.4 million hourly U.S. workers that includes allowing its employees to not be penalized for taking time off if they feel uncomfortable working because of fear of the spreading new virus. Walmart also says that hourly workers who work in a store, club, office or distribution center will receive up to two weeks pay if they are required to quarantine by the government or by the retailer. (Source: AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Employees will receive up to two weeks pay if they are diagnosed with coronavirus or forced to quarantine, the company stated.

Walmart will allow its employees to not be penalized for taking time off if they feel uncomfortable working because of fear of the spreading new virus.

The nation’s largest private employer said Tuesday that a worker at its store in Cynthiana, Kentucky, tested positive for the COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

The worker is receiving medical care and her condition is improving, according to an internal memo.

The retailer consulted with state and local health experts after learning of the case, reinforced its cleaning and sanitizing protocol, and the store remains open after Walmart conferred with the state government.

Other nationwide chains, including Apple and Olive Garden parent company Darden Restaurants, announced changes to their paid sick leave policies.

Darden stated Monday it would become one of the first restaurant chains to offer up to 40 hours of paid sick leave annually to hourly employees, The Washington Post reported.

Apple said it would provide unlimited paid leave to employees, including those at is retail stores, who display symptoms similar to COVID-19. Rideshare companies Uber and Lyft also said they would provide 14 days of sick pay to drivers who were infected with the virus or quarantined.

The Chicago Tribune said McDonald’s would pay employees dealing with coronavirus up to 14 days of sick leave at its corporate stores, which make up about 10% of the locations nationwide.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. Gray Media Group, Inc. contributed to the report. All rights reserved.