Friday, November 06, 2009

Wal-Mart's Risky Sick Policy

I stumbled across an article that just adds one more brush stroke to the Wal-Mart image as the Evil Empire. While its public website tells anyone with H1N1 - the hinnie flu as I call it - to stay home from work, it has its own rather draconian attendance policy for its own workers.

I get the need for an attendance policy. There are enough slackers out there that call off whenever they have the twelve ounce flu or girlfriendintownitis or they just don't give a damn. In the face of mamby-pamby HR departments and people who'll sue for a job they don't want to work, there needs to be a mechanic for dealing with lazy bastards.

Most of Wal-Mart's policy sounds like typically vague corporatese, except for one draconian part. If you call in sick, they dock you 8 hours of wages. So not only do you lose out on whatever time you miss, you lose eight hours you've put in. Given the economic spectrum that Wal-Mart draws its employees from, I bet that means a lot of sick people going to work anyways, infecting others in the nation's largest employer.

While a corporate mouthpiece claimed that its policies make it easier for an employee to stay home sick and claims that it insists that anyone with H1N1 stay home, how do you think that is getting implemented at the store level? It doesn't mention waiving the penalties for flu victims or the parents of flu victims, and I suspect there are store managers going "Yeah, sure you have swine flu, get your ass in here or it'll cost you eight hours."

Check out the article here.



Anonymous Amy said...

I don't think they get 'unpaid' for time they've already put in... don't think that's legal. I think they are not getting paid for the sick day itself. So if I call in sick (on salary) I get paid either way... but for someone hourly at WM, if they don't show up, they don't get paid. It's been a long time since I've been hourly and I don't recall having sick pay, just that I had to be there to get paid. Maybe I'm reading it wrong.

10:01 AM  
Blogger Oz said...

I have trouble believing they could get away with it also, but it specifically says that they are docked 8 hours. Seeing as the only salaried people in Wal-Mart would be managers, it sounds like their hourly employees are fined.

Normally as an hourly, if you cal off, you miss out on whatever your shift would have been unless you have sick time (which almost no part-timers have, which is the bulk of Wal-Mart's and most retailers' work forces).

Of course, there could be an error in the original article, but given how draconian Wal-Mart is and the fact that they want to churn their labor pool to keep costs down, I wouldn't be surprised.

1:53 PM  

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