While a doctor’s note is ideal for taking someone out of school or work, it is not always easy to come by. Depending on the situation and personal circumstances, acquiring a doctor’s note might be more challenging than one can expect. Even worse, companies often require employees to submit a doctor’s note if they take more than two days off or take a form of distinctive leave.
What about if an employee at Sam’s Club calls out sick? And especially if it is for more than two days? Would that employee be able to?
Sam’s Club’s sick policies vary between classes of employees. Still, they are the same as Walmart’s employment policies since Sam’s Club is a division of Walmart, Inc. Employees are tasked to discuss absences with their managers.
Since Sam’s Club is a subsidiary of Walmart, Inc., employment applications must be made through the Walmart corporate site. Unfortunately, each state has different protections, and Walmart, Inc. considers these when creating roles for their stores. Procedures to call out involve notifying a direct supervisor by phone. So, will Sam’s Club accept a doctor’s note?
Do you have PTO?
Most companies offer PTO or Paid Time Off to allow their employees to take time to recover from illness, take a vacation, or take care of a sick family member. For example, at Sam’s Club, PTO benefit policies differ between hourly and salaried employees. As a result, salaried and hourly employees accrue more time off during the year the longer they work at Sam’s Club.
Sam’s Club employees also removed Sick Leave pools and incorporated them into PTO packages in February 2021. In its place, each employee is granted a couple of different types of leave in their contract:
- Paid time off
- Protected paid time off
- Family Leave
- Personal Leave
Each tier of employment includes Paid Time Off and Protected Paid Time Off, and each type of leave serves a purpose.
Additionally, there is personal leave, worker’s compensation, ADA reassignments, family care, parental care, education, and quarantine for varying periods to cover personal medical issues. However, this type of leave does not guarantee that the employee will have a particular role when returning to work.
Company policy says that depending on the need of the store and the time that the employee is off, Sam’s Club will likely reassign the employee to new tasks or departments. A reassignment will also happen when an employee needs an ADA accommodation upon returning to the workplace. While employees were told they would have their job when they returned to work, that has not always been the case.
It is encouraged to use Regular Paid time off as much as possible and reserve Protected Paid Time Off for those unexpected emergencies. Hourly employees who work five days a week start with 21 days of PTO to use throughout the year and can roll over what remains to the following year.
Employees who work three or four days have their PTO pools prorated to reflect their hours worked throughout the week.
The number of days available to employees is consistent throughout Sam’s Club, no matter the role. However, the amount of time that is available does roll over and increases over time spent employed by the company.
Most benefits for salaried workers are the same as for hourly except for having no Protected Paid Time Off. Additionally, their standard PTO includes anything the Protected Paid Time Off would cover if they were hourly. So, while this tier of employment does not receive Protected Paid Time Off, they can take time off from their regular Paid time off days to cover those emergencies.
Most salaried employees are in corporate, and not as many are in the stores since it is easier to provide office coverage when everyone is scheduled to work at the same time. However, in-store management is considered salaried, and so are truck drivers. These roles offer more flexibility to reschedule in the event of an emergency.
Sam’s Club workers are asked to discuss time off requests with their management to confirm that the store can operate optimally and have other employees fill shifts. Additionally, the time off will need to be up in the system, which all employees can access online.
FMLA at the workplace
FMLA stands for Family Medical Leave Act, a federally protected right all Americans have by law. FMLA allows up to 12 weeks per year of pre-approved leave to all for the birth, adoption, and foster care of a child, military maintenance, or handling one’s own medical emergencies. In addition, Sam’s Club employees are guaranteed their positions upon returning to work.
Accusations of Violating Employee Federally Protected Rights
According to CNBC, in 2017, Walmart (Sam’s Club’s parent company) was accused of violating employees’ federally protected rights to sick leave.
For example, Walmart would routinely decline to accept doctor’s notes and applications to FMLA and make reasonable accommodations to employees who were disabled. Even worse, Walmart would retaliate against an employee that submitted a request for emergency leave by writing the employee up.
If the employee were written up several times within a short period, that employee would be let go immediately. Write-ups severely affected sick people; they were forced to work when they could not perform their tasks optimally.
In an interview, approximately a thousand employees confirmed Walmart’s retaliatory behavior across various stores across the country, and lawyers eventually filed a lawsuit to fight for workers’ rights.
It was led by attorneys representing two workers who were obligated to return to work while handling pregnancy complications and loss or face the loss of their jobs. This lawsuit applied to practices that also affected Sam’s Club workers.
Even though there have been some issues in the past, Sam’s Club has placed concrete policies to grant their employees time off at times of need. These time-off policies are on par with other companies across the United States. Sam’s Club will accept doctor’s notes, as determined by each case’s circumstances, and allows employees to have Protected Paid Time Off in addition to their PTO package.
Hi there, I’m JJ, and welcome To EverydayQuery! Founded in 2022, we created this project to be the most complete resource on the web for your everyday questions regarding retail, shopping experiences, and overall consumer questions. We’re a team of passionate consumers whose mission is to provide the best answers to your everyday questions.