Walmart Will Start Taking Its Associates' Temperatures

Isabel Garcia
Photo credit: Justin Sullivan - Getty Images

From House Beautiful

As the coronavirus continues to spread, Walmart has announced steps it plans on taking for its associates’ health and safety. Soon, the retail giant will start taking its employees’ temperatures when they report to work in stores, clubs, and facilities. Any associate with a temperature of 100 degrees will be paid for reporting to work and sent home and asked to seek medical treatment if necessary. Associates sent home won’t be able to return to work until they are fever-free for at least three days. Right now Walmart is in the process of sending infrared thermometers to all locations, but that could take up to three weeks. In the meantime, Walmart says that many associates are taking their own temperatures at home.

Along with temperature checks, Walmart will also provide masks and gloves to employees who want to wear them. While the masks will be high quality, they won’t be N95 respirators, which the company points out should be reserved for healthcare workers. The retialer has also began to install sneeze guards at checkouts and pharmacies, using wipes for carts, and implementing a COVID-19 emergency leave policy.

As the largest private employer in the U.S., Walmart affects a lot of associates, approximately 1.5 million. And there could be thousands more: To help meet surging demand amid the pandemic earlier this month, Walmart announced that it plans on hiring 150,000 more workers.

It wants to hire new associates through the end of May to work in stores, clubs, distribution centers, and fulfillment centers. While the roles will initially be temporary, they could lead to permanent jobs over time. In a statement, Walmart said that it has reached out to industry groups that represent restaurants and hospitality, industries that have been hit hard by the pandemic, to provide temporary roles for their employees. To speed up the hiring process for roles like cashiers and stockers, the hiring process will be reduced from a two-week application cycle to a 24-hour one.

According to a press release, Walmart also plans on giving its hourly associates who were employed as of March 1 a cash bonus for “their hard work and dedication to serving customers in a time of an unprecedented national health crisis.” The bonus, which will add up to more than $365 million, will be given to all U.S. hourly associates in stores, clubs, supply chain, and offices.

“Walmart associates have gone above and beyond the call of duty in serving our customers during these unprecedented times,” Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement . “We want to reward our associates for their hard work and recognize them for the work that is in front of us.”

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