Bernie Sanders: New Walmart paid leave policy not 'good enough'

Bernie Sanders: New Walmart paid leave policy not 'good enough'
© Stefani Reynolds

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - ObamaCare here to stay Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle OVERNIGHT ENERGY:  EPA announces new clean air advisors after firing Trump appointees |  Senate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior | Watchdog: Bureau of Land Management saw messaging failures, understaffing during pandemic MORE (I-Vt.) says Walmart's new paid leave sick policy is not "enough," as he keeps pressure on the retailer over its employment practices.

"Walmart’s decision to provide 48 hours of paid sick leave to some of its employees is a small step forward, but not nearly good enough," the senator said in a statement on Monday.

"Walmart, which is owned by the wealthiest family in America, is not a poor company. If Walmart can afford $20 billion for stock buybacks to enrich wealthy shareholders, it can afford to raise the pay of all its workers to a living wage. Walmart can and must pay all of its workers at least $15 an hour with good benefits."


Walmart announced Friday that they would be allowing their employees to earn up to 48 hours of paid time-off when they are sick or otherwise need to miss work.

“Our associates told us they wanted to be rewarded for their dedication, and we couldn’t agree more,” said Drew Holler, vice president of associate experience, said in the company's statement.

A spokesperson for Walmart told The Hill that the new policy is part of a process to improve worker treatment based on feedback from employees.

“We’re excited to introduce a new hourly attendance policy that rewards our people when they’re here and provides support when they can’t be,” Justin Rushing said.

“These changes are based directly on feedback from our associates who wanted more flexibility to miss work when life happens, while also increasing rewards for consistently coming to work and serving our customers. Along with previous wage investments, parental leave, adoption and other benefits, this is one more important step on our journey.”

Walmart has been a frequent target of Sanders, with the progressive lawmaker pushing a bill last year aimed directly at the company called the Stop WALMART Act.

Introduced by Sanders and Rep. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaPublic option fades with little outcry from progressives Democrats shift tone on unemployment benefits Khanna outlines how progressives will push in climate infrastructure proposal MORE (D-Calif.) the legislation would require a $15 dollar minimum wage, allow up to 7 days of sick leave, and limit the possible pay for Walmart CEO and other top staff in relation to those who are paid the least.

In September, Sanders introduced legislation targeting Amazon that would require large companies to pay a tax on the government benefits its workers receive and urged them to adopt a $15 wage.

Shortly after, Amazon raised their wages to $15 per hour.

-Updated 6:15 p.m.