At Wal-Mart (WMT) today, snowy weather has stopped being an excuse for lateness. It had better become a natural disaster similar to a hurricane or blizzard. And being 10 mins or higher tardy for work 3 x will earn you a demerit. Too many of those could get you fired.
It’s all part of a revised attendance policy implemented earlier this fall that makes Wal-Mart Stores Inc. hourly workers more responsible for excessive unexcused absences and formalizes such penalties.
The latest rules already are drawing fire from critics who claim those are the latest attempt from the nation’s largest private employer to get rid of unhealthy and costly long-term workers as it seeks to cut labor costs.
John Simley, spokesman for Walmart hotline, calls the charges by labor-backed groups “invalid” and said the modifications are an enhancement in the company’s prior policy.
“We are formalizing and enforcing the insurance plan to make certain greater consistency and also to minimize subjectivity,” he was quoted saying.
“It is designed to develop a better workplace plus a better shopping environment. The effect is better communication as well as a better shopping experience,” he said.
Documents furnished to The Associated Press by union-backed WakeUpWalmart.com reveal that employees must call an 800 number to report all absences and tardiness by an hour or so prior to the scheduled start time. They likewise have to call their manager together with the confirmation code they received when calling the line number. In past times, employees got permission from their store managers.
“After a year of adopting antifamily policy after antifamily policy, Wal-Mart adds further insult to injury by adopting a new restrictive attendance policy that treats hard-working associates like children while penalizing them if, God forbid, they face a young child or friend having a medical emergency,” said Chris Kofinis, a spokesman at WakeUpWalmart.com.
The group is placed to carry its first-ever national conference call with Wal-Mart employees and civil rights leaders Thursday to go over the latest move and also other recent labor changes.
In September, Wal-Mart said it will stop offering traditional low-deductible health plans for brand new hires the new year in support of low-premium plans with higher deductibles. Wal-Mart has maintained that this move will put more medical money and choices in the hands of its greater than 1.3 million United states workers, but union-backed Wal-Mart critics claim it really is pushing the increasing costs of medical onto its workers.
Wal-Mart has additionally received heat from critics for implementing caps on its seven hourly pay grades. Employees who happen to be at or over the cap will not likely have their pay cut, however they could only have a raise by moving to some higher-paid category.
Wal-Mart isn’t the only real major corporation grappling with how to cut down on no-shows; unscheduled absenteeism has climbed to the highest level since 1999, as outlined by results released a week ago of any annual nationwide survey of 326 human resource executives in U.S. companies and organizations.
The survey, conducted for CCH Inc. with the Harris Interactive consulting firm, placed the United states absenteeism rate at 2.5 percent in 2006, up from 2.3 percent last year along with the highest since seven yrs ago in the event it was 2.7 percent. The survey found out that personal illness makes up for only 35 % of unscheduled absences, with the remainder as a result of family issues, personal needs, stress as well as an entitlement mentality.
But Pamela Wolf, a workplace analyst at CCH, believes that Wal-Mart’s absentee control program seems to be bucking the popularity among major corporations to embrace work-life programs that are “created to recruit and retain workers.”
“This doesn’t are introducing flexibility to its employees,” Wolf said, after being briefed on Wal-Mart’s new policy.
Dan Butler, vice president of operations at the National Retail Federation, defended stricter attendance policies like Wal-Mart’s, saying “in the event you don’t have controls in position to keep employees accountable, you can’t guarantee a specific measure of service.”
But some Wal-Mart employees, whose names were furnished by WakeUpWal-Mart.com, said in interviews that this new policy is way too rigid.
The newest policy reduces the quantity of unapproved absences capable to three from your previous four during a rolling six-month period. Employees who may have more than three unapproved absences 43dexhpky be disciplined; seven will result in termination, in line with the documents. Simley said under the old policy, employees were terminated after six unapproved absences.
The brand new policy appears more rigid in relation to authorized absences. Previously, general bad weather would suffice for an authorized excuse; now it has to be an organic disaster similar to a hurricane or blizzard. Wal-Mart is currently defining tardiness more rigidly as beginning work ten minutes or maybe more right after the scheduled start time, which results in an incomplete shift. Three incomplete shifts amount to one unauthorized absence.
Simley argued how the new policy is far more flexible. Before, employees could have been marked down as tardy for being a just matter of minutes late for work, he explained.
Within the revised policy, Wal-Mart is encouraging employees who definitely are sick in excess of 3 days to get unpaid leave of absence underneath the Family Medical Leave Act.
“They always said family comes first; now, is it coming last?” asked Cynthia Murray,a Hyattsville, Md., resident, who works in the fitting room of any Wal-Mart store in Laurel, Md.
One of several changes that Murray is upset about is loginsecure now counts leaving work early to grab a sick child as a strike against you. Simley argued that Wal-Mart always counted that for an unauthorized absence.
Mike Turner, who resigned 3 weeks ago as assistant manager of a Wal-Mart store in Crosby, Tex., said he was briefed about the changes by his bosses earlier this fall. He explained that within the old policy, managers would approve excuses on the case-by-case basis, although the 800 number eliminates such “human interaction.”
“I think in being fair,” he was quoted saying, noting he personally approved plenty of situations that made a worker late like flooding or possibly a car deteriorating. “What can you tell a good associate that you are likely to discipline because of system that is the opposite of human interaction?” he asked.