Amazon and Walmart’s Latest Response to Workforce Issues Caused by the Coronavirus

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Amazon and Walmart’s Latest Response to Workforce Issues Caused by the Coronavirus

03/31/2020

Walmart and Amazon have been quickly responding to retail changes from the coronavirus threat, including both retailers’ latest moves regarding their workforces.

Walmart’s latest steps to promote a safe workplace will include taking workers’ temperatures. The retailer said it will begin taking the temperatures of associates as they report to work in stores, clubs and facilities, as well as asking them some basic health screening questions. Walmart is in the process of sending infrared thermometers to all locations, which could take up to three weeks.

Any associate with a temperature of 100.0 degrees will be paid for reporting to work and asked to return home and seek medical treatment if necessary. The associate will not be able to return to work until they are fever-free for at least three days. Walmart’s COVID-19 emergency leave policy allows associates to stay home if they have any COVID-19 related symptoms, concerns, illness or are quarantined.

Walmart also said it will make masks and gloves available to associates who want to wear them “as supplies permit.” The masks will arrive in 1-2 weeks. They will be high-quality masks, but not N95 respirators – which should be reserved for at-risk healthcare workers.

Meanwhile, Amazon is offering higher pay to recruit its own warehouse employees to pick and pack Whole Foods groceries amid rising demand and a worker shortage, according to Reuters.

“The Prime Now business has seen a mass increase in volume and is now offering labor share opportunities,” Amazon said in a message sent to warehouse workers in Maryland, which was reviewed by Reuters.

Employees who are selected to make the switch can make $19 per hour, a $2 raise on top of the pay hike Amazon announced earlier this month.