Who knew working at Wal-Mart could be so controversial? If you have visited online job boards recently you would see that most are brimming with comments about Wal-Mart’s newest employment rules.
According to recent amendments made to Wal-Mart’s employee handbook, snowy weather is no longer an excuse for being late to work, though natural disasters such as hurricanes or blizzards still qualify as an excused absence. Additionally, according to the employee handbook, now, being 10 minutes or later for work three times you will earn a demerit, and if you accumulate too many demerits you could be terminated.
The new rules are drawing fire from critics who claim they are “the latest attempt by the nation’s largest private employer to weed out unhealthy and costly long-term workers as it seeks to cut labor costs.”
Wal-Mart executives naturally disagree and call the charges by labor-backed groups “invalid.” They say the changes are merely “an enhancement” of the company’s prior policy.
The new employee policy also notes another change: Employees must now call an 800 number to “report all absences and tardiness by an hour before the scheduled start time.” In addition, Wal-Mart employees must call their manager with the confirmation code they received when calling the 800 number. In the past, employees got permission directly from their store managers so they could be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
The last change directly affects parents. According to the new handbook, Wal-Mart also now counts leaving work early to pick up a sick child as a strike against you in the form of an unauthorized absence.
Personally, I have never worked for a company that excused an employee’s tardiness or absence due to inclement weather. But, then again, I’ve only worked for television stations—if there was a natural disaster, I wasn’t expected to be on time, I was expected to be in EARLY, because I would be the one out in the elements warning others to “remain indoors.” Needless to say, I may not be a good one to weigh in on this one, but I am curious as to what you think.
Do you think Wal-Mart’s new policies are fair?