Walmart has announced that workers in the United States who have tested positive for COVID-19, or who must isolate because of the virus, will not only receive paid leave for one week, rather than two. This latest change comes amid the CDC’s change in when workers should be able to return to work if they have no symptoms. The CDC now says that workers must isolate for five days, rather than 10. This new stance makes Walmart the first major retailer in the United States to change how long workers must isolate themselves.
This latest change instance comes as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus causes infections and hospitalizations to sure in the United States. As the Omicron variant is highly contagious, many businesses have struggled to stay open and continue working at full capacity as their workers become infected.
Many industries have been hit by infections, most notably the airline industry. Since Christmas Eve, airlines in the United States and around the world have struggled to conduct business as their flight crews become infected with the virus. This has caused many flights to be delayed or canceled.
The Omicron variant is hitting already overwhelmed businesses that have consistently struggled with global supply chain problems, material and good shortages, and labor shortages. Now, as many businesses still feel they don’t have a full team of workers to fully conduct businesses, employers are having to work with even fewer employees because of the quick spread of Omicron.
While Walmart has halved paid leave for those who must isolate, they are still offering paid leave for those who have been infected with COVID-19 and have symptoms. According to the company, sick employees can still potentially receive paid leave, or additional COVID-19 pay, for up to 26 weeks. Meanwhile, Walmart’s corporate employees will continue to not work in the office, instead continuing to work from home until January 30. Previously, workers were supposed to return on January 10.
Now that Walmart has made this change after the CDC’s announcement, other major retailers in the United States may follow suit and also halve paid leave from two weeks to one.
Walmart has struggled in many ways since the COVID-19 pandemic began, as have many other retailers, large and small. Previously, the retail giant had to close stores around the country for deep cleaning, or because they didn’t have enough staff to properly work. While many thought they would not have to do this again, unfortunately, the Omicron variant has made it difficult for even a large company like Walmart to do business.
Walmart previously revealed that they had to shut down about 60 stores throughout the country in December because they became hotspots for the Omicron variant. The stores were shut down to allow teams to sanitize the entire building.
However, while the company has had some struggles here and there, business has continued on as usual for the large corporation. Sales have skyrocketed for the retailer as many people bought food and goods from the store throughout all of 2021.