Walmart Cuts Paid Leave For Covid-Positive Employees By Half

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Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT) will pay employees in the U.S. who must isolate or test positive for Covid just one week of paid leave instead of two. The policy is compliant with a health guidance adjustment in the country.

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Policy Changes

Reuters accessed a memo sent to U.S. hourly store clerks and long-distance drivers on Tuesday, stating that Covid-19-positive workers and those who must be quarantined by a healthcare provider or a government agency are eligible for a workweek of paid time off.

“The company's guidelines follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's updated recommendations last week that people isolate for five days after a COVID-19 infection, instead of 10 days.”

Walmart is the largest private employer in the U.S. with almost 1.6 million workers, and hence it becomes one of the first major retailers to cut down paid leave for COVID-19. Given the company’s size, other big employers could follow these steps.

“The move comes as a spike in COVID-19 cases is causing significant labor shortages across an industry that is already battling supply-chain snarls, product shortages, rising inflation and rocketing transportation costs,” Reuters reports.

A New Model

According to a Walmart spokesperson, staff members who continue to be ill can possibly obtain extra COVID-related compensations for up to 26 weeks. At the same time, the full comeback of corporate employees to company premises has been postponed from January 10 to 30.

Peter Naughton, 46, a Walmart electronics salesperson in Baton Rouge and member of labor non-profit United for Respect, said: "A lot of people don't want to come into work as they're either afraid or getting coronavirus… I can't afford not to come to work.”

Walmart began in 2018 the deployment of several strategies to consolidate itself as an omnichannel company, which allowed it to take advantage of growing e-commerce during the pandemic.

This model marked the beginning of the stores’ new generation: Wi-Fi on the sales floors, extended digital catalogs from where consumers can make purchases online, and the pickup service —buy online and pick up in-store.

Walmart is part of the Entrepreneur Index, which tracks 60 of the largest publicly traded companies managed by their founders or their founders' families.