Walmart's paid parental leave policies hurt families
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We’re two moms from opposite sides of the country, but we have a lot in common.
We both had to leave our newborn babies far too soon after they were born to return to our jobs at Walmart because of the company’s terrible paid family leave policies. Female executives at Walmart get 10 weeks of paid leave, but hourly associates like us only get 6-8 weeks at 50% pay - for employees who work full time only. We’re both women who are working to change Walmart policies through OUR Walmart. And both of us had babies that experienced medical complications that were made more difficult because we couldn’t be there when our babies needed us the most.
Neither of us wanted to leave our babies so soon. But in order to be able to keep our homes and put food on the table for our families, we had no choice but to return to our jobs at Walmart soon after giving birth.
Regina returned after 6 weeks of unpaid leave after giving birth to her daughter Syriah, and Jasmine returned to work just two weeks after giving birth to her son Zyon.
No parent should be forced to leave a newborn’s side soon after birth. But for Walmart employees, their inadequate paid family leave policies mean thousands of employees are forced to leave their babies behind before they’re ready.
When Jasmine brought Zyon to his two week checkup, the pediatrician expressed alarm. Something was wrong -- and Zyon needed to go back to the hospital, urgently. Jasmine called her supervisor to let management know about the emergency, but she was still penalized by the store manager for missing work. Baby Zyon was admitted into the NICU (intensive care for newborns), and for four months, Jasmine would leave his side to work her shifts at Walmart, and return immediately to his side. Jasmine ended up having to leave Walmart because of the time she needed to spend with Zyon at the NICU.
Regina’s daughter Syriah had acid reflux, which often makes feeding painful for newborns and can make gaining weight difficult during a critical developmental period in their infancy. Her pediatrician recommended providing breast milk to my daughter to help with the acid reflux, but without the access to predictable breaks or even a place to pump, her breast milk quickly dried up. Syriah’s acid reflux worsened, and her doctor had to write a prescription for a medication to tackle the reflux and help Syriah get better.
Walmart is one of the richest retailers in the world, but its corporate policies leave hard-working families in dire straights. It shouldn’t be this way.
Being pro-family isn’t just a corporate value -- it’s needs to be corporate practice. Join PL+US and OUR Walmart in calling on Walmart to publicly commit to change their policy and provide all employees with access to paid family leave.
Jasmine Dixon, Denver, CO
Regina Mays, High Point, NC
Proud moms and OUR Walmart leaders
Legal Disclaimer: Organization United for Respect (OUR) is a non-profit organization, organized under the laws of the District of Columbia. OUR brings together low-income workers, their families and communities to improve working conditions in the retail industry throughout the United States, promote human and civil rights secured by law, build strong and healthy communities, and end all forms of discrimination. OUR Walmart is a project of OUR. OUR does not intend or seek to represent retail employees over terms and conditions of employment, or to bargain with retail employers, including Walmart.
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