Walmart updates attendance policy, paid time-off programs

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Walmart updates attendance policy, paid time-off programs

By Marianne Wilson - 02/01/2019
Walmart is giving its employees an incentive to show up for work every day.

The nation’s largest private employer has unveiled a revamped attendance policy and an updated paid time-off, or PTO, program, with the changes based directly on feedback from associates who “wanted more flexibility when life happens, while also being rewarded for consistently showing up to work and serving our customers,” Walmart said.

Under the new policy, eligible hourly Walmart associates can earn an additional 25% on the quarterly cash bonuses they currently receive based on good attendance (the bonuses are based on store performance). According to the retailer, more than 300,000 hourly associates currently have spotless attendance records.

“Our associates told us they wanted to be rewarded for their dedication, and we couldn’t agree more,” said Dan Holler, VP of associate experience, Walmart.

In addition to the cash incentive for good attendance, Walmart unveiled a “protected” PTO program, giving hourly employees a bank of time to use when they unexpectedly can’t make it into work. Absences covered by the program will not impact an associate’s attendance record. Employees in most locations can earn up to 48 hours of protected PTO a year, the retailer said, which can be used to cover illnesses and other unplanned absences.

The new policies take effect Feb. 2 in all Walmart stores and supply chain locations across the U.S. With the changes, Holler said he believes Walmart’s attendance policy will be a leader in the retail industry.

“We know that associates are our best idea generators, and their comments continue to help us reimagine how we serve our customers and support the unique needs of our associates,” he said.

The changes come as Walmart and other retailers are doubling down on benefits as they deal with a still tight labor market. Last year, Walmart introduced “My Walmart schedule,” a new approach to scheduling that gives employees the choice to swap shifts with a co-worker, offering an easy way to help fellow associates pick up extra hours and save paid time off.

“We’re constantly testing, learning and seeking feedback to improve our stores for associates and customers,” said Holler, who added that the new cash incentive program, “along with previous wage investments, parental leave, adoption and other benefits, is another important step on our journey to be the employer of choice.”