At Wal-Mart (WMT) today, snowy weather is no longer an excuse for lateness. It had better be a natural disaster such as a hurricane or blizzard. And being 10 mins or maybe more tardy for work three times will earn you a demerit. Too many of those could easily get you fired.
It’s all a part of a revised attendance policy implemented earlier this fall which enables Wal-Mart Stores Inc. hourly workers more liable for excessive unexcused absences and formalizes such penalties.
The brand new rules already are drawing fire from critics who claim these are the latest attempt with the nation’s largest private employer to eliminate unhealthy and costly long term workers mainly because it seeks to cut labor costs.
John Simley, spokesman for walmart phone number, calls the charges by labor-backed groups “invalid” and said the changes are an enhancement in the company’s prior policy.
“We have been formalizing and enforcing the plan to guarantee greater consistency as well as to minimize subjectivity,” he explained.
“It was designed to create a better work environment along with a better shopping environment. The end result is much better communication and a better shopping experience,” he said.
Documents furnished on the Associated Press by union-backed WakeUpWalmart.com show that employees must call an 800 number to report all absences and tardiness by an hour prior to the scheduled start time. They have to call their manager with all the confirmation code they received when calling the hot line number. Before, employees got permission from their store managers.
“Following a year of adopting antifamily policy after antifamily policy, Wal-Mart adds further insult to injury by adopting a whole new restrictive attendance policy that treats hard-working associates like children while penalizing them if, God forbid, they face a kid or friend with a medical emergency,” said Chris Kofinis, a spokesman at WakeUpWalmart.com.
The group is defined to keep its first-ever national conference call with Wal-Mart employees and civil rights leaders Thursday to talk about the most recent move and also other recent labor changes.
In September, Wal-Mart stated it will stop offering traditional low-deductible health plans for brand new hires next season in support of low-premium plans with higher deductibles. Wal-Mart has maintained that the move will put more medical money and choices at the disposal of its greater than 1.3 million U.S. workers, but union-backed Wal-Mart critics claim it can be pushing the increasing costs of health care onto its workers.
Wal-Mart has 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 get their pay cut, nonetheless they can only obtain a raise by moving into a higher-paid category.
Wal-Mart isn’t the sole major corporation grappling with how to minimize on no-shows; unscheduled absenteeism has climbed to its highest level since 1999, in accordance with results released last week of an annual nationwide survey of 326 hr executives in Usa companies and organizations.
The survey, conducted for CCH Inc. from the Harris Interactive consulting firm, position the Usa absenteeism rate at 2.5 percent in 2006, up from 2.3 percent this past year and the highest since seven years ago when it was 2.7 percent. The survey found out that personal illness makes up for just 35 % of unscheduled absences, with the rest because of family issues, personal needs, stress and an entitlement mentality.
But Pamela Wolf, a workplace analyst at CCH, believes that Wal-Mart’s absentee control program appears to be bucking the craze among major corporations to embrace work-life programs that are “created to recruit and retain workers.”
“This doesn’t appear to be introducing flexibility to the employees,” Wolf said, after being briefed on Wal-Mart’s new policy.
Dan Butler, v . p . of operations on the National Retail Federation, defended stricter attendance policies like Wal-Mart’s, saying “if you don’t have controls in position to hold employees accountable, you can’t guarantee a definite amount of service.”
However, some Wal-Mart employees, whose names were furnished by WakeUpWal-Mart.com, said in interviews that the new policy is way too rigid.
The latest policy reduces the volume of unapproved absences permitted to three through the previous four throughout a rolling six-month period. Employees who have greater than three unapproved absences 43dexhpky be disciplined; seven will lead to termination, according to the documents. Simley said beneath the old policy, employees were terminated after six unapproved absences.
The new policy appears more rigid in terms of authorized absences. In past times, general bad weather would suffice as being an authorized excuse; now it should be a natural disaster similar to a hurricane or blizzard. Wal-Mart is already defining tardiness more rigidly as beginning work 10-20 minutes or even more right after the scheduled start time, which results in an incomplete shift. Three incomplete shifts soon add up to one unauthorized absence.
Simley argued that this new policy is far more flexible. Before, employees could have been marked down as tardy to be a just short while late for work, he said.
Beneath the revised policy, Wal-Mart is encouraging employees that are sick in excess of 3 days to get unpaid leave of absence beneath 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 inside the fitting room of the Wal-Mart store in Laurel, Md.
Among the changes that Murray is upset about is loginsecure now counts leaving work early to buy a sick child being a strike against you. Simley argued that Wal-Mart always counted that being an unauthorized absence.
Mike Turner, who resigned 3 weeks ago as assistant manager of your Wal-Mart store in Crosby, Tex., said he was briefed concerning the changes by his bosses earlier this fall. He was quoted saying that within the old policy, managers would approve excuses on a case-by-case basis, although the 800 number eliminates such “human interaction.”
“I believe in being fair,” he stated, noting he personally approved lots of situations that made a worker late like flooding or perhaps a car breaking down. “What can you tell an excellent associate that you might discipline due to a system that goes against human interaction?” he asked.