March 12, 2020 / 10:16 PM / 22 days ago

UPDATE 1-Amazon tells staff globally to work from home if possible

(Adds Amazon policy details)

March 12 (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc on Thursday said it was recommending that employees globally work from home this month if they are able to do so, while warehouses and other facilities stayed operational so packages could keep shipping to customers.

The policy, an update to an earlier advisory that employees in just a handful of regions work remotely, reflects urgency at the world's largest online retailer to curb the spread of the coronavirus among staff and the public. At the same time, it underscores ongoing risk to warehouse and delivery staff whose physical presence is necessary for Amazon's e-commerce business to function.

"We continue to work closely with public and private medical experts to ensure we are taking the right precautions as the situation continues to evolve," Amazon said in a statement.

The company had 798,000 full and part-time workers globally as of Dec. 31.

Amazon said necessary on-site staff could take paid or unpaid time off as usual. Hourly employees could take unlimited unpaid time off this month, it said.

Amazon employees diagnosed with the coronavirus or quarantined because of it would get up to two weeks' pay, the company said. (Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Editing by Sandra Maler and Tom Brown)

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