Wal-Mart’s ‘New’ Attendance Policy

Wal-Mart Watch and Wake Up Wal-Mart are touting an article from the Wall Street Journal discussing the company’s “new” attendance policy.

The new policy instructs employees requesting time off for illness to call an 800 number to get a code and then relay that code to their store manager for approval of their absence. Previously, employees asked their store manager directly for such time off, employees say.

In addition, the new policy formalizes penalties for employees who fail to get their absences authorized or don’t bother to call. Among them: Any employee with more than three unauthorized absences in a six-month span will be disciplined, and those with seven will be fired. Any employee who is absent three times during a six-month period and doesn’t call the 800 number for any of the three times can be fired. And employees needing more than three consecutive sick days are encouraged to apply for an unpaid leave of absence or time off under the Family Medical Leave Act. Previously, store managers had more discretion regarding discipline for unexcused absences.

The union groups are attacking the policy change as an injustice against Wal-Mart’s employees. Wake Up Wal-Mart’s Chris Kofinis went so far as to claim that it “just sends another terrible message that this company looks at its workers as a commodity.” I hate to break it to you, Chris, but there isn’t much here that’s new.

The attendance policy that has been in effect since 1998 allowed three absences in a rolling six month period. A fourth resulted in a verbal coaching; a fifth in a written coaching; a sixth in a decision day. A seventh absence resulted in termination. Three tardies counted as an absence. Three consecutive days of missing work counted as only one absence. Three “no call, no shows” was grounds for immediate dismissal. None of this has changed. An associate can miss as many as 18 days in six months and keep his or her job. I don’t see anything unreasonable about this.

The only thing that has changed is the addition of the 800 number. Wal-Mart’s critics seem to think that this innovation is part of a diabolical scheme to force out the elderly and the sick. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Bentonville is trying to eliminate the lost productivity that results from excessive absenteeism — they are trying to save money. The only people who will find the new system problematic are those who took advantage of the system (You know, the people who find a reason to miss a day every week.).

With all the focus on the exaggerated negatives of the tracking system, everyone is ignoring the positives:

1. It lightens the load on the workers who do come in. Wal-Mart’s staffing isn’t that great to begin with, but when people call in there is more work for everyone. Breaks and lunches often end up late (or *gasp* skipped!). The customers have to wait longer and have even more difficulty getting service on the sales floor. Everyone will benefit from the decreased call-ins.

2. It curbs favoritism. We’ve all seen it. The boss likes Sally, so he looks the other way when she takes that extra day off, but when Joe does it, he gets in trouble. Since it’s being tracked by Bentonville, Sally and the manager can’t get away with this anymore.

3. It protects associates. The old system depended on management answering the call and making note that the associate wasn’t coming in. When managers are busy, they often don’t have time to write it down and it slips their mind. Just like that, the absence could go down as a “no call, no show.” Enough mistakes like this could cost a person his or her job. Now, there is no need to worry.

The anti-Wal-Mart movement never seems to notice the good Wal-Mart does. They are always looking for something bad to focus on, making sure to blow it out of proportion and distort it to fit their agenda. Why can’t they just state the facts and let them speak for themselves?

Guest Blogger: Someone In USA

74 Responses to “Wal-Mart’s ‘New’ Attendance Policy”

  1. spouse of employee says:

      You guys are trippin… my woman calls in sick atleast once a week just to stay home and chill with me and as long as she calls the 800# she has no issues…  that 800# is from the gods!!! you call+give your name+store# and reason then hang up and dont worry about gettin in trouble…. quit hate’n on walmart cuz you didnt get hired for failing the drug test

    • employee says:

      I don’t know where your spouse works ..but that is not the way it works it Bushnell,Fl. You can call the 800# and get their approval ..but our management says no excuse is approved or accepted. All absences are unexcused. Unless you are one of their chosen few.. then you can miss as much as you want nothing is done.

  2. Thatguy says:

    Did you know if you go to the doctors and get a note to not go to work you get an excused absence. Check the wire for details. You also could go to the ER to get the night off.

  3. Catherine says:

    Getting a Dr’s note does nothing, except maybe less attitude from management. 
    They act like you’re skipping work, rather than going home to recover from an illness, or prevent spreading a sickness.

    Getting a Dr’s note gets you nowhere, unless you’re in some mgr’s pocket, MAYBE.

    We all know how favoritism thrives there.    

  4. Catherine says:

    I worked for Wm* for over 19 years.  Over time, they have consistently made everyone’s jobs harder to complete.  Everyone is much more stressed than they used to be.  There is no more pride at my old store.  We used to do a cheer every morning, and we all laughed together when one of the maintenence guys jumped in the middle and shouted “T!” , to end the spelling of the company name.
    Trying to do a great job was tough when mgmt was on everyone’e case, telling us to get done faster, “show a greater sense of urgency”, and “being a team player.”

    A TOTAL  CROCK OF   SHIT.

  5. lol says:

    hahahahahahaaha I had so many speeches about shower greater sense of urgency and being a team player when you refuse to do other department’s work. no idea that was all text book bullshit they are taught to say.

  6. Marie says:

    Please, like any of Walmart’s policies are honestly meant to reduce subjectivity on the part of managers or make life easier for employees. Bentonville cannot and will not track the absences of over 1 million employees. In the end, excused versus unexcused absences are still in hands of boss and “Sally”, and “Joe” is still the one being punished. My manager recently refused to permit me one absence to be with my husband during surgery, but continues to grant young male employees who charm her anything they need, regardless of who pays for it in extra work. Walmart will never grant its associates anything more than a poverty level job full of favoritism, bureaucracy, and anti-family policies. Its employees will never be treated as anything more than disposable commodities. Defending them is naive, short-sighted, and reflective of someone who has either never worked for them or has had the fortune of always receiving “Sally” treatment.

  7. asae says:

    Seems like Walmart management cares more about their bonuses than they do about the employees’ welfare or the spreading of diseases to everything the employees touch/cough/sneeze on including children’s toys, ready to eat food, boxed and packaged food, candy, over-the-counter medicine and hygiene products, drinks and beverages, and everything else you can imagine in your local Walmart.  Management’s attitude? Take a pill and go to work sick unless you’re in need of hospitalization.

  8. asae says:

    Something I thought about after my last message. I worked for a small company once and after visiting someone in a hospital I was sick with a high fever for a few days. First day after the hospital visit I was okay and went to work and used my computer keyboard as usual.  That evening I started to get feel ill and my temperature began to rise. By next day I had flu like symptoms and a rather high temperature. Next day my fever went away but my temperature was much lower than “normal”. By the 3rd or 4th day I was feeling better and returned to work. A clerk had used the keyboard I had used and was now out sick and when she returned she indicated that she had the same thing I had symptoms and all.  Can you imagine all the people that might have been affected if I had been working in Walmart as an overnight stocker and opening cartons, stocking the contents, and then carefully adjusting the individual items on the shelves for appearance which is called “zoning” … 10s or 100s of people could have been affected and Walmart seems to promote this policy by encouraging its managers to do what they can to get the employees to come in and work regardless of whether they feel sick or not.  I’ve actually heard a manager tell employees in a meeting that not coming in to work for being sick was unacceptable to him during the weeks before Christmas because of the additional demand placed on the staff because of the holiday. Couldn’t believe I was hearing that but he repeated himself and made it clear to all the associates in the room.  Just so you know what you’re supporting when you buy from Walmart.

  9. Bud says:

    But do they take time to consider people with small children and elderly parents? 

  10. lisa hooper says:

    No they do not consider the people that have elderly parents or small children to care for. Unless you are one of the chosen few of course. WalMart is not family friendly. 

  11. Jason Carter says:

    I am a employee for the DC and attendance is the same, I had to call just to see what they can do for me because my child had a high beginning 3 hours before my morning shift and I had to bring him to ER. Since my PTL wasn’t as good they told me that they are sorry my child is going through that but its either you miss and taken him while being held accountable or you come to work that’s your only choice and to take FMLA you have to miss 3 days of work and get paperwork, and it has to be approved, so these unexpected things that can’t be controlled is still at your fault, I love my job because they pay me well but to work for a company that faults you and holds you accountable for your child needing medical attention for just that day is just sad, buisness is buisness right? 

  12. Sonya says:

    My son got fired after missing six days on at the same timebit within the same six months. They all had either a doctors note ormonte from e.r. But he was still fired. So I don’t understand why some people are safe and others who go to work and do theirjob but get sick due to medical issues are dismissed.
     

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