Walmart is revamping its time-off policy and handing out bonuses to employees with great attendance

Jeff Greenberg / Contributor / Getty ImagesWalmart is making some major changes to its time-off policies.
  • Walmart is restructuring its paid-time-off policy.
  • Employees with good attendance records will now receive quarterly bonuses.
  • Walmart also established six days of “protected PTO” for employees.

Walmart’s paid-time-off policy is getting a major overhaul.

Under the new system, employees will get six days of “protected PTO” for emergencies and illnesses every year, according to CNN. Every six months, employees will also accrue a pool of five days to use for unexpected absences. The company’s vacation policy will remain unchanged.

“We’re excited to introduce a new hourly attendance policy that rewards our people when they’re here and provides support when they can’t be,” a Walmart spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider.

Walmart’s previous time-off policy allowed employees to miss up to nine days every six months. Worker advocacy group A Better Balance blasted this system in 2017, saying that it punished workers dealing with illnesses and sick family members. A Better Balance also alleged that Walmart was violating the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

The revamped system will give employees with good attendance the opportunity to earn some extra cash. Bonuses will be calculated based on employees’ salaries; CNN reported that an entry-level worker with a $US11 hourly wage could make $US550 at the end of a quarter, for instance.

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Taking the six days of “protected PTO” won’t cut employees out of the running for the quarterly bonus. But using any of the five days of time off granted every six months will cause associates to lose out on the extra money.

Walmart told CNN that 300,000 associates currently qualify for attendance bonuses.

United for Respect, a non-profit organisation focused on improving conditions for low-income retail workers, weighed in on the news in a press release. While the organisation praised the establishment of “protected PTO” apart from vacation time, it also criticised the move for encouraging sick employees to call into work.

“We’ve been calling on Walmart to publicly commit to a healthy sick time policy that allows us to take care of ourselves and our families,” North Carolina-based Walmart employee and OUR Walmart leader Shashauna Phillips said in a statement. “Walmart is responding to our call for change with a new policy. But what they are giving with one hand, they are taking with the other – the corporation still doesn’t accept doctor’s notes and is even encouraging associates to come to work when they’re sick with a new bonus plan.”

“These changes are based directly on feedback from our associates who wanted more flexibility to miss work when life happens, while also increasing rewards for consistently coming to work and serving our customers,” a Walmart spokesperson said. “Along with previous wage investments, parental leave, adoption and other benefits, this is one more important step on our journey.”

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