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This Walmart policy change could be a huge blessing to employees

Walmart plans to offer more hours to current employees during the holiday season instead of hiring temporary employees. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

Janie Grice is a single mother who has worked at Walmart for four years. Ever since she started, she has told her supervisors that she wants to work full time. Even so, her hours have hovered between 20 and 30 per week.

Jennifer Rodgers, another mother who works at Walmart and who would love full-time hours, only gets 20-25 hours despite having training in multiple departments and open availability.

These two people, who shared their situations with the Washington Post, stand to benefit greatly from a new Walmart decision to not hire temporary workers this holiday season, and instead to offer up to 40 hours per week to current employees.

“If I made 40 hours each week during holiday time, the first thing I would do is pay my rent and buy Christmas gifts for my 8-year-old," Rodgers said.

What is Walmart changing?

Like most retailers during the holiday season, Walmart has long hired temporary workers to manage increased customer volume in stores. Now, the retailer is opting to invest more in current employees by offering the additional hours to them.

There are benefits to employees and to Walmart:

  • Walmart saves money on recruiting, hiring and training
  • Holiday staff will be more experienced, knowledgeable and productive
  • Employees who have been asking for more hours can cash in and possibly earn overtime

Why are they doing this now?

It's actually good news: unemployment is so low that it has become increasingly difficult to find people willing to take on temporary retail jobs. And since lack of hours is a top complaint among Walmart employees, it only makes sense for them to pick up that slack.

“We’ve never been able to understand why Walmart continues hiring seasonal workers when there are so many people begging them for more hours," said Dan Schlademan, a spokesman for the employee group OUR Walmart.

Do they have a choice?

One potential concern is whether the additional hours are percent voluntary, or if employees will be required to take on heavier loads during the holidays. While the additional workload will be a blessing to some, many people prefer time with their families around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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