BENTONVILLE, AR (KNWA) — Walmart employees delivered a petition with more than 70,000 signatures to the home office in Bentonville on Thursday morning seeking an updated paid family leave policy that applies to all employees and families.
Expecting mother Liz Loudermilk said she works for Walmart in South Carolina and traveled to Bentonville to deliver the petition with other employees.
Loudermilk said she’s due to give birth in November, and she’ll have to return to work immediately because she can’t afford to stay home under the company’s current policy.
“The problem is that for most hourly associates, Walmart has no paid family leave, and for the rest of us, we don’t get enough pay to stay home and care for our newborns. I’m due this November, and I’ll need to be right back to work because I can’t afford to stay home under Walmart’s policy,” said Loudermilk.
A new report from organization Paid Leave for the U.S. found Walmart offers salaried birth mothers 10 weeks of fully paid leave. The company offers full-time hourly workers 6-8 weeks of leave at 50 percent pay, according tot he report.
The organization claims full-time hourly fathers and adoptive parents have no paid family leave benefits.
Walmart released the following statement on the petition:
“Walmart is a leader in retail, offering 6-8 weeks of paid maternity for full-time hourly associates. We believe our people are able to do their best work when they have stability and consistency in their lives away from the store. Our leave and paid time off policies offer stability, as well as flexibility to help them deal with the unforeseen.”
The company said part-time employees have access to a maximum of 144 hours paid time off, and the majority of its workforce is full-time. Full-time employees have access to a maximum of 304 hours paid time off. Unused hours can be rolled over and cashed out each year, Walmart said.
Walmart said it also offers health benefits that start at around $24 per pay period, and that’s roughly half the national average for single person coverage.