Editor’s note: To accompany the video conversation with Thrive Global founder and CEO Arianna Huffington, we’ve also included a blog outlining Walmart’s collaboration with the company. Look for the link in the Emotional well-being section below. Also, the COVID-19 Emergency Leave Policy has been extended through January 31, 2021.
April 24, 2020
By Donna Morris, Chief People Officer
I continue to be inspired by the way our associates show grace in the face of adversity, while also providing a vital service to their communities. Today, I wanted to share an update on how we’re supporting our associates, building on our ongoing focus to help them live better.
To give associates the flexibility and support they need to stay home if they’re sick or just uncomfortable coming to work, we rolled out our COVID-19 emergency leave policy last month. Since then, we’ve extended the policy through the end of May to continue supporting associates and giving them the flexibility to stay home.
For associates enrolled in a Walmart medical plan, we’ve also waived the $4 co-pay for our telehealth option, Doctor on Demand (DOD), and worked with other doctors on our plans to provide consultations via phone or video conference for associates and their families. DOD is available where our associates are, and it’s a germ-free option that allows for social distancing. An online COVID-19 assessment is included at no cost on the site as well.
We know in this difficult time, there is an increased need for emotional support. All associates and their family members – regardless of whether they’re on a Walmart medical plan – can receive support for emotional wellness through Resources for Living. This includes three behavioral counseling sessions at no cost and unlimited telephonic counseling. Resources for Living also provides free resources such as a coping with COVID-19 webinar series and information on how to help kids deal with COVID-19. In addition, through our work with Thrive Global, we’re offering all associates tools and tips from experts and other associates to deal with the stress that comes from this period of time.
In addition, through Doctor on Demand, associates on a Walmart medical plan have access to behavioral health services to treat things like anxiety or restlessness, which we know many Americans are facing right now. Associates can connect over live video with licensed therapists, psychologists or psychiatrists that provide the emotional support they may need from the privacy and ease of home.
In select distribution centers and fulfillment centers, we have opened Walmart Cares Centers to provide on-site support resources for associates. And we’ve created an online, one-stop shop for all associates and their family members to access all well-being related information.
We know this is an unprecedented time in America, and we want to continue to ensure more real time access to money earned by associates. We have provided cash bonuses and accelerated quarterly bonuses for part-time and full-time hourly associates. We’ve made part of their net earned wages accessible on a weekly basis and have seen thousands of associates take advantage of this option over the last month. In our eCommerce fulfillment centers, we’re also paying a referral bonus to both the associate who refers someone and the person who was referred and hired.
Also, for associates who are personally impacted by COVID-19, whether it is an associate or a spouse who has the virus, or being financially strained because of being quarantined, we’re giving them the option to withdraw funds from their 401(k) with no distribution fee or early withdrawal penalty and taxes may be paid over three years. We’re also providing associates with the option of a one-year extension on existing 401k loan payments, starting at the end of next week.
Our associates’ overall well-being – financial, physical and emotional – remains a priority. They’re taking care of customers and members who need them every day, and we’re committed to giving them and their families the support they need during this pandemic. We’ll continue to look at additional ways to support our associates and keep them safe and healthy during this time.