‘Every Day Is Frightening’: Working For Walmart Amid Covid-19 Lockdown, Shifts, and Uncertainties
Jill Johnson, senior vice president of corporate communications and social media at Walmart, told CNN this week that the retail giant is providing employees with an extended paid sick leave that will be “significantly longer” than the 20-day emergency period announced by Walmart CEO Mike Duke in late March.
Walmart is also providing all employees paid family leave, which the retailer says will be of “up to 14 weeks” if they need it, and is providing paid sick day options starting Thursday. “So we’re taking care of some of those things we’re missing,” Johnson told CNN.
At the same time, Johnson said that employees who need to go into quarantine or self-quarantine are not being placed on paid family leave or unpaid leave for that. “So there’s some things we’re talking about that we’re doing in-house to support them that we’re not providing paid family leave, we’re not providing paid sick day,” she said. “We’re not providing paid days off. We haven’t provided that for quarantine and self-quarantine.” (Read more here.)
Johnson is also hopeful that as the pandemic progresses in the U.S., Walmart will shift some of its planned stores to a “store-out” model where employees are not allowed in the stores.
“That sounds like a good idea, that sounds like a smart idea to us,” Johnson said of store-out, which she said is a concept that has been around for a while but hasn’t gone into effect for fear it would hurt local economies. “It’s not something we have thought of but it’s something we’re talking about as we look at how to best support our team.”
“We’re not the only ones doing it”
Johnson said that when the company makes major changes to its operations in the wake of an emergency, the company “listens in and makes sure we’ve thought through our options” and that employees are included in those conversations, but that it is not a “mandate” to go into store-outs.
Walmart did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how it is preparing for the virus and when it might offer store-outs.
In fact, Walmart is not the only retailer offering paid family leave. Target, which started its own paid