Losing a close loved one can be incredibly difficult and emotional. During such tragic times, the last thing employees need is to stress over work and financial struggles. A comprehensive bereavement leave policy is therefore essential for any company with a sizable workforce.
With over 1.5 million associates across the US, Walmart is no exception. As an experienced seller, I often advise retailers on the importance of bereavement leave policies. This article will provide sellers and Walmart employees an in-depth guide to everything you need to know about Walmart‘s bereavement pay and time off policy.
Who Qualifies as an Immediate Family Member?
Walmart allows employees to take bereavement leave for the death of an immediate family member. But who exactly does Walmart consider an immediate relative or family?
According to Walmart‘s policy, immediate family includes:
- Your spouse or domestic partner
- Your children or stepchildren
- Your parents or stepparents
- Your siblings
- Your grandparents
- Your grandchildren
Additionally, Walmart‘s definition extends to any person living in your home and depended on you for care. In my experience managing employees, it‘s important to have a broad definition of family. Grief doesn‘t discriminate based on legal family statuses.
In rare cases, some retailers like Walmart may also grant bereavement leave for relatives like aunts, uncles, cousins or close friends. But this is determined case-by-case at the manager‘s discretion.
Duration of Paid Bereavement Leave
Most major retailers offer 1-3 paid days off for bereavement. Walmart‘s policy is in line with other retailers:
- Up to 3 paid days off for immediate family.
- Part-time hourly workers also receive bereavement pay equivalent to their regular schedule.
However, managers ultimately decide the appropriate length of leave based on:
- Your relationship to the deceased.
- Travel needs to attend funeral services.
- Your attendance history and job performance.
- Operating needs and avoiding disruption at your facility.
As a seller, I ensure managers understand the importance of bereavement leave, even if it causes some operation disruption. Performance and attendance inevitably decline if employees don‘t get time to grieve their loss.
Is Bereavement Leave Paid or Unpaid?
The common industry practice is providing paid bereavement leave, which Walmart follows:
- Hourly associates receive paid bereavement leave at their regular base rate.
- Salaried employees continue receiving full salary.
Many retailers I work with chose paid leave to avoid forcing employees to use limited sick days or PTO. Associates already deal with enough hardship during loss.
Can Bereavement Leave Be Extended Beyond 3 Days?
Sometimes grief leave needs to extend beyond the standard bereavement policy. Walmart does allow longer leaves in such cases:
- Employees can request a personal Leave of Absence for more unpaid time off.
- Leave can be extended to up to 12 weeks depending on circumstances.
- May require proper documentation for approval.
Similar to FMLA regulations, Walmart allows up to 12 weeks off intermittently or in a continuous block. Having flexible extended leave options is ideal, as grief has no set timeline.
Does Walmart Require Proof of Bereavement?
Given the sensitive nature of bereavement events, most retailers don‘t require official proof upfront. Walmart also generally does not ask for verification of the family member‘s passing.
However, exceptions occur if attendance or frequency of bereavement leave becomes concerning. Walmart may then request details like a death certificate or obituary notice.
How Do You Request Bereavement Leave at Walmart?
The process for requesting bereavement leave depends on your employee status:
Hourly employees should call both their manager and Walmart‘s associate call-in line. If extended leave is needed, submit request through Sedgwick.
Salaried employees must notify their manager and complete a digital bereavement request form on WalmartOne portal.
From my retail experience, communicate with managers early about your expected return date. This allows proper scheduling adjustments and avoids attendance issues.
Tips for Navigating Bereavement Leave
Here are some tips both as a seller and a person who has gone through grief:
Don‘t hesitate to take the full allotted bereavement leave, even if you think you may not need it. Grief has ups and downs.
If your manager resists approving the leave duration you need, politely escalate the request to HR. Bereavement leave is your right as an employee.
Review your paystubs after bereavement leave to confirm you were properly paid for time off. Follow up with payroll immediately if anything seems incorrect.
See if your health insurance provides grief counseling or therapy benefits. The grieving process differs for everyone, so have resources in place.
Communicate with your manager on easesing back into work after leave – perhaps starting with reduced hours. Don‘t feel rushed back into full duties before you‘re ready.
How Does Walmart‘s Bereavement Policy Compare?
Most major retailers offer 1-3 days of paid bereavement leave for immediate family, which Walmart aligns with. Here‘s how it compares to other top US retail chains:
|Company||Paid Bereavement Leave|
|Walmart||Up to 3 days|
|Amazon||Up to 3 days|
|Home Depot||3 days|
One differentiation is that Walmart defines "immediate family" more broadly than many retailers to include any co-habiting dependent.
Additionally, Walmart provides clearer extended personal leave options for longer grieving periods. The ability to get leaves of absence approved for up to 12 weeks is better than most retail alternatives I‘ve seen.
Losing a loved one is never easy. Having access to bereavement leave ensures employees can mourn and attend to their families without worrying about work or income.
I hope this guide has helped provide clarity on Walmart‘s bereavement pay and time off policy. No one should have to choose between grieving a loss or paying their bills. Take full advantage of the benefits available to you during these difficult times.