Walmart implements emergency leave policy after associate tests positive for COVID-19

Walmart (WMT), the nation’s largest private employer, has created an emergency leave policy amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak after one of its associates tested positive for the virus.

“Your health is our priority, and, as we’ve said before, we want any associate who is not feeling well to stay home,” U.S. CEO John Furner wrote in a memo to Walmart’s 1.4 million U.S. associates.

According to the memo, an associate at a store in Cynthiana, Kentucky tested positive for COVID-19.

“The associate is receiving medical care, and her condition is improving. We wish her a speedy recovery,” Furner wrote.

Walmart said it worked with state and local health experts and “reinforced” its cleaning and sanitizing protocol and the store is still open.

The memo listed three different circumstances for employees to take advantage of the new emergency leave policy. First, if an associate is “unable to work” or “uncomfortable to work,” they can stay home. Furner said that the company will waive its attendance occurrence policy through the end of April.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 18: Walmart carts are seen outside of a store as the company reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings that fell short of analysts’ estimates on February 18, 2020 in Miami, Florida. Walmart earned $1.38 a share, short of some analysts expectations for $1.43 per share. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Walmart carts are seen outside of a store in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

“In order to be paid for this time, you may use your regular paid time off options,” the memo said.

Second, if a store, club, office, or distribution center is under a mandated quarantine, those workers will receive up to two weeks of pay and absences during that time will not count against attendance.

“We’ve chosen two weeks because it matches the recommended time for quarantines related to this virus,” Furner wrote.

Third, anyone who tests positive for the virus will receive up to two weeks of pay and additional pay replacement if needed.

“If they’re not able to return to work after that time, additional pay replacement may be provided for up to 26 weeks for both full-time and part-time hourly associates.”

COVID-19 coverage
COVID-19 coverage

Julia La Roche is a Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.