Walmart is launching an emergency leave policy for its 1.4 million hourly U.S. workers that includes allowing its employees not to be penalized for taking time off if they feel uncomfortable working because of fear of the spreading new virus.
The nation's largest private employer also said Tuesday that hourly workers who work in a store, club, office or distribution center will receive up to two weeks of pay if they're required to quarantine by the government or by the retailer. Workers who have a confirmed case of the new virus will also receive two weeks of pay. If they are not able to return to work after that time, additional pay may be provided for up to 26 weeks for both full-time and part-time hourly workers.
The policy, which covers both Walmart and Sam's Club workers no matter when they were hired, including part-time employees, comes as companies are wrestling with how to support the workforce in these fluid times.
Good, and it may be necessary because if consumers ever feel "Walmart" is a place where they can catch COVID-19, Walmart's top line will take a big hit. Better to sacrifice the bottom a bit to protect the top line.
In my region there is one man diagnosed with COVID-19, and rumor has it that his roommate works at a particular local grocery store, so now I hear people warning each other not to go to that particular grocery store. It would be a shame if that grocery store goes down because of this. This dynamic can hurt Walmart too if Walmart does not get ahead of something like this. Same applies to pretty much any retailer, any restaurant, any business where you want foot traffic.
CVS Pharmacy plans to deliver prescribed medication to its customers at no cost due to the coronavirus outbreak.
According to USA Today, the company said this effort is to ensure those who are the most vulnerable to contracting the virus don't have to venture out.
USA Today reports CVS will start the free home delivery for medications immediately.
"The latest steps we’re taking will help ensure patients of all ages have every option available to them when it comes to filling prescriptions,” Troyen Brennan, executive vice president and chief medical officer for CVS Health, said in a statement. "As long as COVID-19 continues to be a threat, we’ll maintain a relentless focus on how best to serve our patients, members and customers.”
Google issued one of the most sweeping cautionary edicts, recommending on Tuesday that all its employees in North America work from home until at least April 10 amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The company is also setting up a fund to ensure sick leave for hourly and temporary workers globally, as well as for its previously announced plan to pay those whose services may not be fully needed while full-time employees work from home.
Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Twitter all told Axios on Thursday night that they plan to pay their hourly workers regular wages even as they encourage many of their staff to work from home, reducing their on-site support staffing needs.