Walmart is halving paid leave for workers receiving Covid-19


Picture of a Walmart store file in Hallandale Beach, Florida.

Picture of a Walmart store file in Hallandale Beach, Florida.
Photography: Joe Raedle (Getty Images)

Walmart, the largest private employer in the U.S., reduces paid sick leave for workers receiving covid-19 from two weeks’ leave to one week, according to a new report Reuters citing an internal letter sent Tuesday. The change was inspired by updated CDC guidelines that suggest that Americans be isolated only five days after a positive test, not 10 days.

Walmart, where the average annual salary for full-time employees is only $ 24,960, introduced in March 2020 a new program in which workers can receive paid leave of up to two weeks. Workers who could not return to work after two weeks could receive an additional salary replacement for up to 26 weeks, Walmart said in a statement from the beginning. pandemic.

But the first “heroes” to keep the U.S. economy afloat are expected to take one for their team and will only be allowed one week of paid leave if they get covid-19. Every other rich country in the world has a government mandate paid sick leave. And while some states and cities have passed laws granting workers paid sick leave, many Americans have to choose between losing wages or just going on sick leave.

The CDC changed its recommended isolation time last week, while top U.S. health officials said very explicitly that this was how the society could get started. What they thought, of course, was that people in the lowest-paid jobs would have to potentially sacrifice their health to prevent everyday life in the U.S. from coming to a halt.

“Instead of keeping people out of action, out of work, out of company for 10 days, if you’re infected and asymptomatic, then you have five days of isolation and then you can go back to company with a mask you wear all the time. “Fauci told CNN December 29, 2021.

Walmart confirmed to Gizmoda that the changes in sick leave were made in accordance with the new CDC guidelines.

“Since the pandemic began almost two years ago, we have complied with CDC guidelines regarding covid-19 in developing policies for customers and associates. We updated our covid-19 Emergency leave policy in response to the latest CDC guidelines recommending 5 days of isolation and co-workers who must be quarantined or test positive for covid-19 can get up to one working week of paid leave, ”a Walmart spokesman told Gizmodo via email in a statement early Thursday.

Our policy also lists covid associates-19 and can’t go back to work after one working week of covid-19 Emergency leave may be entitled to additional salary replacement for up to 26 weeks, ”the statement continued.

The U.S. reported 704,369 new cases of covid-19 on Wednesday, bringing the seven-day average to more than 584,000 – a truly staggering number of infections that do not take into account home tests for the disease. The country also reported 2,113 new deaths from Covid-19 on Wednesday.

Walmart is one of the worst companies in the country in terms of pay inequality, according to a a recent study who notes that CEO C. Douglas McMillon earns approximately $ 21 million a year. McMillon enjoys the privilege of teleconferencing on his own meetings with President Joe Biden, something his workers are unable to do.

Like many online commentators they noticed, if society could really stop with workers taking only ten days off, there is no doubt that general strike could work to secure many of the basic freedoms that American workers currently lack. It is certainly food for thought at a time when companies continue to tell their employees that they are “heroes” while reducing their benefits.

Again, the United States is the only rich country in the world without paid sick leave approved by the federal government. And if Americans don’t finally get it during a global pandemic that left more than 831,000 dead, it’s hard to see when they will ever get it.

Updated with comment from Walmart.


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